Thursday, November 10, 2005

Molly Ivans: "What have we become?"

Bush administration, dead to morality, says torture is the American way

AUSTIN, Texas -- I can't get over this feeling of unreality, that I am actually sitting here writing about our country having a gulag of secret prisons in which it tortures people. I have loved America all my life, even though I have often disagreed with the government. But this seems to me so preposterous, so monstrous. My mind is a little bent and my heart is a little broken this morning.


A string of prisons in Eastern Europe in which suspects are held and tortured indefinitely, without trial, without lawyers, without the right to confront their accusers, without knowing the evidence or the charges against them, if any. Forever. It's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Another secret prison in the midst of a military camp on an island run by an infamous dictator. Prisoner without a name, cell without a number.

Who are we? What have we become?

What have we become? That is simple. We have become torturers. All of us, collectively, who implicitly or explicitly support this regime and its horrific acts. George Orwell knew. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. [...] The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. [...] But always - do not forget this, Winston - always there will be the intoxication of power, increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - for ever. -- George Orwell, 1984

We have become torturers who take refuge in lies, pretty gleaming glistening lies, lies of patriotism and pride, lies that we only torture those who deserve it, only execute those who are evil, that torture is the American way, the only way. Pretty lies that we want to believe, deep in our hearts of hearts, our animal hearts lusting for blood and our heads gratefully accepting the lies that allow our inner ape to hoot and holler and fling feces like all apes wish to do when encountering those who are not part of our particular pride of primates.

We have become torturers who embrace our lies with love and adoration, and who will resist any and all attempts to enlighten us to the truth about what we are and what we have become. For lies are easy and reassuring and comforting in the dark of night when things go bump, and the truth is harsh, and cold, and unflattering. No, no, far better to embrace the lies, the lies of patriotism and hope, the lies that tell us all is well, all is well, we are not bad people... lies that are, after all, what we want to believe about ourselves and the nation we live in. What we want to believe.

So we do.

And Jesus weeps...

- Badtux the Orwellian Penguin


  1. Silly Penguin! You obviously have not yet been clued in to the New American Way. If we don’t allow secret agents of the United States government to squirrel away prisoners in Cold War era gulags where they may be held indefinitely without trial or charges and subjected to treatment that would make the site’s former operators proud, then the terrorists have already won!

  2. Indeed, that is the New American Way, as you point out. I applaud you for bringing forth a new set of bright and shining lies for us to reassure ourselves with. "We must torture, we must become terrorists, or the terrorists have won!" is such a reassuring, soothing thing to take to bed at night, on those cold and rainy evenings when the rain blows against the windows and the tree branches go "thump... thump... thump..." against the side of the abode and the truth looks cold and harsh and sickening...

    For if the only choice is between becoming terrorists, and the terrorists winning, then the terrorists truly have won.

    - Badtux the Truth-telling Penguin

  3. The United States has become what it has vowed to fight against.

  4. Our American Jesus can kick the ass of your liberal Jesus.

  5. I've speculated that America is essentially being supplanted by the Old Confederacy and turning into what the CSA would have been if it had been allowed to continue existing into the modern era.

    But I certainly don't claim to be an expert on all things Dixie. I know you're from the South, so maybe you could comment on how right/wrong that idea is?

  6. For if the only choice is between becoming terrorists, and the terrorists winning, then the terrorists truly have won.

    thank you, that's the most sane thing that i've heard all day.


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