Empty Days

Monday, October 27, 2003

No answer questions

Many questions that seem obvious to the moral mind consistently remain unanswerable - if by "unanswerable" I mean "unresolved in actual life".

In a documentary on french tv tonight, Alan M. Dershowitz palavered on the problem of the use of torture by state officials (secret service, army, police) "for reasons of national security". A retired french general was interviewed who used torture against Algerian *terrorists* in the 50's war (La guerre d'Alger). An Argentinean political militant was also questioned who survived vicious treatment and never confessed. I myself knew a Russian man who's been through that in the good old Soviet days and didn't give in either, notwithstanding a rather flimsy complexion.

So. Torture is a bad thing. War is a bad thing. Murder and violence are really very bad. And yet. The french general never regretted mauling his prisoners because it was war and his own kin were getting killed. The Argentinean and the Russian never doubted their cause and were willing to suffer in their body for it. The CIA men who rough up *terrorists* all over the Middle East are dead sure they're doing the right thing.
Dershowitz wants these dilemmas to be discussed and weighed in public, in full light, so that no ugly action "for the good of the nation" goes unapproved. But I must wonder - would that make sense? Does it make sense to expect a war waged with modern weapons to be "clean" and then not show the corpses on tv because it might shock "some viewers"? Does it make sense to license ugliness, knowing that ugliness cannot be made into anything else than what it already is - that is, ugliness!

Is torture necessary? Is ugliness improvable? Should we expect the second coming of Christ? Is not violence at the basis of all statehood? "Somebody has to do the dirty work."

Perhaps Dershowitz is asking for a compromise. The "facing reality" type of thing, compromising on self-righteousness of the good-minded. In Holland they've legalized soft drugs and prostitution. In Amerika they wish to legalize a bit of torture by the CIA & the Homeland Security Dept - because it's there.
Take it or leave it. And you can't just slam the door and say it shouldn't be happening. Because it is and there is a reason. Too many wars in too many places. Move to the North Pole. It's clean and white there. Condemn torture. Then use it. Admit you're not a saint. Be true to your beastly nature. REPENT .





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