June 22, 2005

So Durbin has apologized

Apologized for saying that we should hold ourselves to a high standard in the conduct of our soldiers when we are holding prisoners. Apologized for questioning our behavior.

If the unexamined life is not worth living, is an unexamined national life good for us?

I know war is a dirty business, but it's not as dirty as abusing captured people who are unable to defend themselves or fight back. Who among us watched friends, relatives and neighbors become soldiers intent on defending us expecting them to come back as torturers?

Torturers aren't especially different from the rest of us you know. That's why we must hold our military accountable for their behavior and provide the widest possible support for humane behavior under admittedly difficult circumstances. That's why we can't let Bush and his administration off the hook for searching for "legal" ways to torture prisoners and declaring the Geneva Conventions "quaint". Won't we lose something valuable in our national life and character if we allow ourselves to cast away restraint in our dealings with those we imprison?
The Hands of Torturers

They hold the hoses, flip the switches,
grip and beat and cut the bodies, then
unzip and tend to their own hose pissing,
tuck it back in, run the razor
tender down the cheekbone, chuck
a buttock, fondle breasts, part labia.
From one body to another
how easily the hands can go.

Ursula K. LeGuin
Going Out With Peacocks and Other Poems
Torturers aren't especially different from the rest of us. That's why we must guard ourselves against and protect each other from becoming torturers.


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