"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Apr 13, 2011

Torture is Hip With the In Crowd

"A new study by the American Red Cross obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast found that a surprising majority—almost 60 percent—of American teenagers thought things like water-boarding or sleep deprivation are sometimes acceptable. More than half also approved of killing captured enemies in cases where the enemy had killed Americans."

Go figure. Refusing to call torture "torture" results in children growing up believing that it's not.

Who could have predicted that?

I mean, it's not like this has ever happened in any other category, before. C'mon, now. "Date rape" isn't "rape rape," you know...

Anyhows -

Wrote this a while back. Bears some repeating, I guess: The point of seemingly pointless wars, beyond the material benefits which accrue to those who manage them, is a population which normalizes war. As always, I'm ambiguous about the Spartans (the historical ones, not the Hollywood masculine kewpie dolls who never, ever have gay sex or listen to their wives), but they are the occidental historical exemplars, alongside their Roman inheritors. A polity organized towards war produces warriors. A nation which normalizes torture will produce citizens who cannot define it as such, and who have no problem with its use.

It seems too simple to be overlooked, but I guess it is.

What else explains the shocked tones of surprise in the quoted original, above?

It's like the writer has never had access to the histories of the British, Roman or Hun empires, has never read up on Janissaries or Mamluks, studied the martial iterations of the Middle Kingdom, or taken stock of modern Japanese and West African history.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It a complete desensitization of all types of brutality. Combined with the pandemic denigration of all things "feminine" and we're going to have a really, really dysfunctional society on our hands (even more than the current one- hell, yesterday in NY I saw some loon in a giant pickup with a "Waterboard Pelosi" bumpersticker- I imagine he thought it was the height of wit).

Jack Crow said...


I have something on "feminine" coming up. Went to my child's play tonight. Makes your point, though I think it thought it was making a different one.

Anonymous said...

First comes the desensitization, then comes normalization. After a certain point, it becomes impossible to imagine your world any other way. This is the course of torture and genocide and war. But it is also the course of liberty, equality and fraternity.

@ndy said...



Randal Graves said...