Reprinted from Mike Malloy
O'Brien talks about power while Winston is being tortured for thought crimes.
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It's 1984. Winston Smith is bound to a table of sorts. He is being tortured by O'Brien in the bowels of the Ministry of Truth. There is a pause in the pain.
"O'Brien asks Winston, 'How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?'
"Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.
"'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement."
The Senate report on the crimes against humanity committed by the Bush/Cheney Crime Family and its associates makes it clear that no actionable intelligence was garnered from the torture of men swept up in the mountains of Afghanistan or the deserts of Somalia. Nothing of value was obtained. And yet the torture continued. In some instances, the report makes clear, the information sought by the US (and hired foreign) torturers was information already available -- either from other "intelligence" sources or from initial questioning prior to the onset of the torture.
Still, the torture commenced. The question is why. Was it to satisfy the perverted needs of Dick Cheney? Was it not he who demanded the video records of each torture session be sent to him for review? Is it possible the Supreme Court in its 12 December 2000 ruling -- a ruling that in effect appointed the Bush/Cheney Crime Family the new executive officers of the US -- unwittingly allowed a clinical psychopath to assume the position of absolute power? The Senate report seems to suggest so.
This man, Dick Cheney, who had been seeking that absolute power since the Ford Administration, finally had it handed to him. The power to assert absolute control over other human beings; the power to invade another country; the power to kidnap and kill; the power to order the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people; the power to torture:
"With that first blow on the elbow the nightmare had started. Later he was to realize that all that then happened was merely a preliminary, a routine interrogation to which nearly all prisoners were subjected. There was a long range of crimes -- espionage, sabotage, and the like -- to which everyone had to confess as a matter of course.
"The confession was a formality, though the torture was real. How many times he had been beaten, how long the beatings had continued, he could not remember. Always there were five or six men in black uniforms at him simultaneously. Sometimes it was fists, sometimes it was truncheons, sometimes it was steel rods, sometimes it was boots. There were times when he rolled about the floor, as shameless as an animal, writhing his body this way and that in an endless, hopeless effort to dodge the kicks, and simply inviting more and yet more kicks, in his ribs, in his belly, on his elbows, on his shins, in his groin, in his testicles, on the bone at the base of his spine.
"There were times when it went on and on until the cruel, wicked, unforgivable thing seemed to him not that the guards continued to beat him but that he could not force himself into losing consciousness. There were times when his nerve so forsook him that he began shouting for mercy even before the beating began, when the mere sight of a fist drawn back for a blow was enough to make him pour forth a confession of real and imaginary crimes. There were other times when he started out with the resolve of confessing nothing, when every word had to be forced out of him between gasps of pain, and there were times when he feebly tried to compromise, when he said to himself: 'I will confess, but not yet. I must hold out till the pain becomes unbearable. Three more kicks, two more kicks, and then I will tell them what they want.' Sometimes he was beaten till he could hardly stand, then flung like a sack of potatoes on to the stone floor of a cell, left to recuperate for a few hours, and then taken out and beaten again."
Cheney, Bush, Yoo, Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al, have committed so many crimes against humanity as to render those crimes almost incomprehensible. Subsequently, they have each moved on to positions of faux respectability in academia, law, business, and publishing. They have accomplished what the criminals in the Nazi High Command sought for decades while the Nazi hunters pursued them relentlessly: Invisibility. The Bush Crime Family members, however, will not have to worry about being pursued. There is no one to pursue them. The threat of being brought to justice is non-existent.
The Senate report will be read by a few -- mostly historians -- bandied about for awhile as a political document having no relevance to morality or truth or justice until it fades from sight, sunk into the same bottomless pit of atrocities that contains so many reports on so many violations of human rights. It will be forgotten in the same manner as the Church Report of a generation ago.
"O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.
"'There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'
'"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,"' repeated Winston obediently.- Advertisement -
'"Who controls the present controls the past,"' said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval."
The Senate Report on torture, the Conservatives are saying, is filled with lies, half-truths, mis-information; a political document having no value whatsoever. A silly report put together by a crowd of misguided, possibly treasonous left-wing Democrats. The Conservatives insist they were defending America, protecting us from the terrorists who are lurking everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. The conventional wisdom says the report will be forgotten or become irrelevant by Election Day 2016.
The conventional wisdom is probably correct.