February 14, 2006

Grappling with Monsters

I'm in the process of reposting some earlier entries that I will be referring to in new essays I'm writing. I've just reposted one from last November, Monsters with Borrowed Souls: The Horror Magnifies. That entry discusses a NYT piece that describes the sources of the methods of interrogation and torture that our military has adopted. These methods, which have now been enshrined as part of our national policy in the "War on Terror," were borrowed from our former Communist enemies. I suggest that you think long and hard about the significance of that fact, and the depths of moral depravity that it represents.

Our official embrace of torture -- which I subsequently analyzed in much more detail in my series, On Torture -- is made still worse, if that is possible, by the administration's dishonest denials about it. Such denials are only to be expected: monsters are not in the habit of admitting their own nature. But the administration's habitual dishonesty -- on virtually every subject, from minor matters to issues of the greatest significance -- pulls all of us further down into the vile muck that engulfs us more with each day that passes. Facts recede ever farther from view; reality becomes almost completely obscured. It becomes harder, if not impossible, to change our course and save ourselves from catastrophe -- because we cannot even see the road, or where it leads.

Such systematic deception is a commonplace for regimes of a certain kind. But it represents a warping of reality and an obliteration of the truth on a scale that is profoundly dangerous. It also makes it easier to avoid confronting the nature of the evil that now confronts us, and the further consequences that may be upon us all too soon.

I mention these issues here because I am nearing the conclusion of my series on Iran. The latest installment is here, and here is the preceding part with links to the rest. I have indicated in several posts the likely results of a military attack on Iran; see here and here, for example. Many people understandably react to such scenarios by thinking: "But they could never risk disaster on that kind of scale! It's simply inconceivable. No one could take a chance like that. Why, that would be crazy!"

Yes, it would. But as I recently pointed out, we are not dealing with people who are behaving rationally. Some of those making decisions that could unleash widespread destruction around the world would welcome apocalyptic transformation. But we resist acknowledging this fully, because the horror is too great.

Here is how I concluded the post from November:
[I]nsofar as this aspect of our "national policy" is concerned, we are now a nation of inhuman brutes, committed to a policy that embraces the most grotesque and horrifying cruelty. This is the defense of "freedom" brought to us by the Bush administration. This is the "democracy" that Bush wants to establish around the world by means of military might.

In this context, it is impossible to say which is worse: that these monsters might have dreamed up these methods of torture on their own, out of their own diseased minds -- or that they simply copied these methods from those we ourselves had once fought, the very people we had once considered inhuman monsters. But, as you can always be sure will be true with this particular group of monsters, the second is probably worse -- and that is the route chosen by the Bush administration.

In their inhumanity, cruelty and barbarity, they are the crudest and most sickening kind of imitators. They have to rely on others to devise the means of torture first. They are the worst kind of monsters: monsters who borrow their corrupt, repellent souls from those who have gone before, because they are unable to originate anything on their own -- not even torture.

I would say that I find it hard to believe that my capacity for horror can still be further exceeded. But I dare not, for Bush and his fellow monsters will undoubtedly prove me wrong, still one more time.
I emphasize these issues because it is crucial to understand the danger before us. We must understand it first, if we hope to defeat it or at least slow it down.

I consider it crucial that those of us who oppose this administration's policies attempt to prevent an attack on Iran. As I have indicated, the possible -- and even probable -- consequences are too terrible to contemplate. The events that might be set in motion could well represent a turning point from which there is no return, at least not for many years and perhaps not in our lifetimes. It may be impossible to stop such an attack, but I think we must try. The major key obviously lies in generating as much public opposition as possible; given the extent to which many Americans have swallowed the Iran propaganda, such opposition will have to be extraordinarily loud and insistent. (I hope it goes without saying that I also think such opposition must be entirely peaceful and non-violent.)

I have some ideas about how to do that, and I'll be writing about them in the next day or two. I'll complete the Iran series later today or tomorrow, and then offer some suggestions. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts along these lines, please let me know: arthur4801 at yahoo dot com. Many thanks.