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Reprinted from Ray McGovern Blog
In "Our culture of evasion," on June 22, E. J. Dionne observes, "We Americans are exceptionally good at evasion when we want to be. Our skills in this sphere are particularly impressive on the matter of race and the subject of guns."
Dionne brands "manipulative" the common insistence that we must "heal and mourn first" out of respect for those murdered in Charleston, before asking, "what we must do as a nation." He suggests that this "is used as an excuse to delay reflection on why this happened until the moment of urgency passes. In media culture with a short attention span, there is no surer way to contain and marginalize the hard questions."
The "hard question" in this context is racism. But racism also lies at the root of torture -- not to mention our "wars of choice" that target people of color.
Dionne asks, "Are we so demented and our senate and house members so cowardly that they cannot even pass [gun-control] laws?" Let me flip the question over and suggest it is an equally cowardly evasion for our country's leaders to pretend we need new laws against torture rather than enforce those already on the books. (200-word limit)
[[[added paragraph]]] Sadly, that pretense is widely accepted by well-meaning human rights groups, who seem oblivious to the fact that the Army Field Manual they praise so highly permits interrogation techniques widely deemed to be torture. The latest legislative "remedy" -- the McCain-Feingold amendment (which has now been approved by the Senate) -- to the National Defense Authorization Act is little more than a cheap political stunt. It is, indeed, worse than nothing, since it fosters the impression that the torture commissioned by Bush and Cheney was somehow legal until now. Feingold is a lawyer, and she doesn't know that? Et tu, Dianne?