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Torture: Who Could Care?

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Message Rafe Pilgrim
            The tortured certainly care.   And the torturer pervertedly cares, or he would refuse the assignment, which would expose him to little personal liability in that his masters themselves are cowardly that any threat to him might result in their own exposure as depraved and even – in morally enlightened societies – legally culpable.


            The leadership that directs torture doesn't care, they having built the secret fences (It's classified!) and perhaps even some sort of convoluted legal "justification," while wrapping themselves in the flag – the ultimate and perhaps most effective stage of public manipulation and political depravity.  Even after exiting their high offices, they can depend upon their successors – yes, even of the opposite partisan persuasion, as President Obama has recently exhibited – to protect them in the interests of "moving forward," don't you know.  ("Moving forward" translated from politico-speak means:  Both my predecessors and I have – beyond our different parties – the same masters who must be protected if we are permitted to remain in power.)


            Of other politicians, who cares?  Such as Mses. Clinton and Pelosi would respond curtly with their typical canned moralizations.  Senator Reid would hardly say more but appear more stern, while Senators Dodd and Durbin would be perhaps a bit more expansive before excusing themselves for other business, while Representative Conyers would enunciate his usual sincere morality and perhaps even offer that "something must be done about this," but as we've learned from his past concerns, little if no real action can be expected to follow his preachments.


            And it would be surprising if not shocking if any Republican incumbent would offer something beyond the moving-forward charade unless it were the defending-America ploy.  Some Democrats who might rise to the occasion could include Representatives Wexler and Nadler, who would no doubt face the risk of condemnation as left-wing nuts and – worst of all moral depravities – of being unpatriotic.


            The late and here much lamented Senator Paul Wellstone would have cared, raised almighty hell and not be silenced until the issues were more fully exposed and prosecuted as justified.  But the masters knew this, and took care of that by eliminating such a probability in advance.  (Senator Wellstone, I and a few compadres mourn the questionable circumstances of your demise.  We miss you, and so would all America if it had any sense of what citizens must do to protect and preserve the Republic.)


            One supposes that the moral and operative imperative is that the ELECTORATE must care that something be done to address and correct our governmental morality, if we are to regain some level of respect from the decent (non-torturing) peoples of the world, and if we are to ascend beyond flag-worship to look ourselves in the eye as a moral nation.  (Speaking of which, why has the voice of the church been faint beyond most hearing on such a moral issue?  As with the war, we can apparently cross it of the list of moral consciousness, with perhaps such "fringe" exceptions as the Quakers and Unitarians.)


            Thus far there has been no crescendo of outrage from the electorate, and, once again as with the endless war, we are apparently unlikely to experience one.  Perhaps, as with the so-called Peace Movement, we can expect some signs on the sidewalk, some weekly excursions to Washington, even possibly some new organizations, perhaps some symbolic attire and even possibly the emergence of some torture celebrities a la the peace celebrities – each org or personality with its own individualized and zealously defended nuance of message, and in all probability with the entire endeavor proceeding as fecklessly  as has the anti-war movement across the PAST SEVEN YEARS.


            The electorate, consumed as it now is with our government abetted financial crisis, its foreclosure threats and growing unemployment, as well as with its normal preoccupations of shopping, watching American Idol re-runs and NASCAR, contemplating the next NFL season, flag worship, Sunday-morning morality, and slight political insight or interest in anything beyond superficial partisanship – cannot be depended upon to ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING to address the torture issue, investigate the crimes, prosecute the guilty, or to take torture out of the playbook of future political monsters.


            What do I personally think the electorate should do, their political recourse being castrated?  I think that you and I should mass together on the Mall (the one in Washington!) and raise almighty hell and not go away until we are assured that the moral abomination is addressed and forever corrected.  That would take more than a million of us, and for a long time, and with discomfort, even suffering and risks from the "authorities."  Not up to it?  Other priorities?  I'm not surprised.


            Where then does this all leave us?  Who could care about torture?  There are essentially three anti-torture parties:  (1) the tortured themselves, (2) I myself, and (3) possibly you yourself.


            But, then again, most lamentably and lonesomely, can I be all that certain about you? 


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Rafe Pilgrim, after "a life largely wasted on hard honest work," found himself a jungle of turkey oak, scrub pine and giant palmettos up a dirt road running east of Crystal River, Florida, which neither school busses nor the U.S. Postal Service dare (more...)
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