Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Torture State Endures

(Posted for purposes of illustration only; not intended as an advertisement.)

From Locke to Schlock: The t-shirt on the left, a juvenile celebration of the Khmer Rouge's favorite torture tactic, is a suitable illustration of what contemporary conservatism is all about.

Nil desperandum, conservative defenders of the Torture State.

The institutions of the Imperial Executive remain intact. And although the Soviet- and Nazi-inspired "enhanced interrogation techniques" ("verscharfte verernehmung," in the original German) have been put on the shelf, there is every reason to expect that they will quietly be pulled back down when the Anointed One, the Last Son of Krypton, He Who Will Bring Balance to the Force, even Barack the Blessed, considers them necessary.

You see, the key to understanding Obama's method of consolidating power is this: When he speaks, the masses listen to the "music" and ignore the lyrics. Blessed with a mellifluous voice and an appealing mien, Obama has a gift -- I'm tempted to call it Reaganesque -- for political misdirection.

His thematic pronouncements on matters of principle resonate so strongly with the hopes of his most ardent supporters, and even some cynics, that little notice is taken of slight but important discordances in the substance of his actions.

In the specific matter of torture, all
Obama's executive order has done is to suspend the CIA's use of patently illegal torture techniques and to move "expeditiously" to close down illegal torture facilities -- pending the announcement of new policies on these matters by a special panel that won't report its findings for at least six months. Until then, interrogations will be conducted in harmony with the restrictions of the U.S. Army Field Manual, and the requirements of Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions.

The interagency task force on detention and interrogation will be headed by the Attorney General and include the Secretary of State, the heads of the Homeland Security Department, the CIA, and the National Intelligence Agency, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and any other officials the chairman considers necessary. It's entirely likely that this entirely establishmentarian body will end up recommending that Obama embrace some attenuated form of the Cheney approach to "Homeland Security" through torture, all-encompassing surveillance, summary detention, and targeted assassination.

That was, after all, the advice the Beltway media was urging on Obama just prior to his inauguration. Now the same media resound in psalms of praise for Obama's "clean break" with the Bush Regime, and restoration of America's moral standing.
To judge from the hosannas being sung in Obama's praise by the "progressive" choir, and the shrill choruses of despair emanating from the Bushified Right, one would think that the new president had made the Augean Stables as pristine as a NASA white room. However, as an unnamed Obama adviser told Newsweek, "All we've done for now is set up a process."

A "process," as the term is understood in Washington, will almost always result in the qualified institutionalization of something previously considered unthinkable. After all, where the Feds are concerned, the powers of government can only expand, never contract -- and the powers accumulated by the Chief Executive under the lamentable reign of Bush the Dimmer will be considered simply too useful to discard by Obama and his colleagues, whose self-assigned
mission is nothing less than to reconfigure American society.

That kind of thing, after all, will require a government that can be painfully insistent when it encounters resistance.

Lethal instrument of the imperial executive's will: A CIA-operated Predator drone deploys a Hellfire missile.

Less than 72 hours after Obama's halting, stumbling public recital of the presidential oath (I suspect the words "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the united States" burned on his tongue), he underwent the now-familiar presidential rite of passage by becoming a war criminal. Specifically, Obama ordered a lethal airstrike using a Predator drone against a target in Pakistan, a country with whom we are not at war, but toward which Obama has expressed aggressive intentions.

This attack, in which several children were killed, was counter-productive in addition to being illegal: Pakistan is teetering on the brink of succumbing to an Islamist revolt, which would make it the first nuclear-armed Jihadist state. Repeated U.S. incursions and airstrikes have done nothing to enhance that country's stability.

Which means that it's no surprise that the Predator strikes are carried out by the same CIA whose powers Mr. Obama is supposedly seeking to curtail. (Overthrowing bad governments in favor of worse ones has long been a CIA specialty.)
And, most critically, the strike was carried out in secrecy, without congressional authorization -- apart, that is, from the same 2001 "Authorization for Use of Military Force" that the Bush Regime used as an Enabling Act for the Imperial Presidency.

Also significant is the fact that Obama, who supported the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program in the Senate, filed an appeal with a federal judge in San Francisco "to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants," reported Wired news.

That eavesdropping program, ritually described by Bush and his defenders as limited to scrutiny of international communications involving "legitimate" terrorist suspects, actually
encompassed practically all forms of electronic communication by tens of millions of Americans, including telephone calls, e-mails, financial transactions, and anything else susceptible to interception by the National Security Agency.

“It didn't matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all," explains NSA defector/whistleblower Russell Tice. "They monitored all communications.”
Obama, the supposed paladin of civil liberties, is determined to preserve this totalitarian surveillance program.

Yes, there may be modest or even significant adjustments in the implementation of the imperial agenda. Some of the most visible barbarities might end, or at least appear to. A certain superficial gentility might replace the pugnacious ignorance that characterized the Bush-era executive branch.

Where the powers and purposes of the imperial state are concerned, however, these are merely cosmetic enhancements and refinements of technique; it's a bit like giving a cannibal a makeover and teaching him to use flatware.

On sale now!

Dum spiro, pugno!


zach said...

Yes, there must be at least some change on the surface. If there were not, how could the establishment maintain any credibility with the "progressive" Boobus? Instead of Bush's arrogant smirk, so endearing to ignorant brownshirted-neoncons, we get a big, warm, welcoming smile. A little more lube, if you will. Obama is more rabidly "pro-choice" and passionately pro-victim disarmament. The former will bring greater judgment, and the latter quality may worsen are chances should it ever come to blows.

Mister Spock said...

Will - re Obama's swearing in:

I'm sure anytime he gets near a Bible he gets a bit confused. You'll notice there was no Bible when he repeated the swearing in and he did just fine.

Dave said...

I also recall once seeing a "Club Guantanamo" t-shirt.

I guess the people have become so brainwashed that they now applaud the arrival of oppressive tyranny in the form of such delights as waterboarding and indefinite imprisonment.

There seems to be an utter disconnect between the prurient pleasure they derive from such "sport" and the implication it has for their own lives.

I wonder if someone who actually wears that "waterboarding" t-shirt would be so glib after experiencing the practice firsthand.

Dave - Erstwhile Urban Wanderer

Dave said...

T-shirts are fine for teens, but what about the children?

This is too funny for words! Or maybe it's just so tragic all one can do is laugh about it. It's a security checkpoint toy for kids!


Sans Authoritas said...

Thanks for this post, Will. You have a knack for pulling down the yellow smiley face and revealing the raw nature of the state and its supporters.

Dave, torture is an act that logically flows from the idea that you have the right to force other people to surrender their money at gunpoint. If you think you have the right to use physical force to coerce the body, you doubtless think you have the right to use force to coerce the spirit. The will. Human beings are, as we know, composite body and soul.

Of course, atheist materialists believe that all is matter. As an aquaintance of mine pointed out, "To Marx, you are a clump of matter. You manipulate other clumps of matter." Where does morality come into play when matter is merely manipulating other clumps of matter? Logically speaking, there is no room for morality in atheism. You manipulate matter, and there can be no right or wrong in it.

You cannot be a Christian and believe in initiating violence against anyone, body or soul. It is contrary to the teachings of Christ. But since when does anyone need to believe in Christ, or strive to follow his teachings to call himself a "Christian?"

Evil. The oldest mental illness in the universe. It is the cruellest and most irrepressible mental illness, as well, because it disguises itself as good. no one can do evil for its own sake. You can only do evil under guise that it is actually good. Even if you recognize an act as evil, you can only do that evil because you think it would be good for you to do it.

The Police were right. "There is no political solution." The State's only tool is violence. You cannot make people good with violence. The only moral use of violence is in self-defense against actual aggressors, and the State, by its nature, does not operate according to that idea. The State initiates violence by its taxation. By starting with this first principle, the die has already been cast, and we know how it will invariably fall.

The only solution is for each individual to embrace and live the Truth in their own lives. Voting, getting involved in the State, using violence to propagate your message? Utterly ineffective. Goodness flows from the individual out into society, and must be voluntarily accepted. Be good, and let it flow.

-Sans Authoritas

Dave said...

Sans Authoritas,

You wrote,

The only solution is for each individual to embrace and live the Truth in their own lives. Voting, getting involved in the State, using violence to propagate your message? Utterly ineffective. Goodness flows from the individual out into society, and must be voluntarily accepted. Be good, and let it flow.

I couldn't agree more! In fact, I've written as much numerous times. I live by the golden rule.

I am truly aghast at these people perpetrating evil and terror in our names. I view them with clinical curiosity and address their deviant behavior with touch of humor. Otherwise, I'd go mad with frustration.

Dave - Erstwhile Urban Wanderer

Anonymous said...

"This is too funny for words! Or maybe it's just so tragic all one can do is laugh about it. It's a security checkpoint toy for kids!"

Google "PLAYSKOOL HELMET HEROES" for more tragicity.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

Dear Mr. Grigg,

Doesn't that picture of the blond little white girls smiling with their perfect blond white teeth remind you of the famous 2006 picture of little Israeli girls writing messages to Arab children on the bombs the brave Jews were going to drop on defenseless Arab civilians in Lebanon?

What those happy evil children of Satan need is a dose of the reality of what their slogans mean. At this link, below the article, you will find a nice set of pictures from Gaza, which have not been seen in our American Jewish-owned press and on our American Jewish-owned TV:

And, Mr. Grigg, if Obama has begun to close the moral distance between himself and George Bush, it is only because he has packed his administration with the most hawkish Jews in America, as a reward to the Jewish bankers who poured money into his campaign at the end, and the Jewish media which gave him a free ride and ridiculed and slandered his genuine opponents, such as Ron Paul.

So you think George Bush was NOT, in the worlds of Ariel Sharon, "The best friend Israel ever had"? Do the names Prescott Bush, Brown Brothers Harriman, J. Henry Schroder, Paul Warburg, Kuhn, Loeb, Lazard Freres, Jacob Schiff, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Meyer Rothschild, Lord Montagu Norman, and an employee of Kuhn, Loeb & Sons, Frederick Delano (Delano was an old Sephardic Jewish family from Spain - you may have heard the name in connection with their marriage into the Dutch Jewish immigrant family of Rosenveldt, who when they lived in Italy in the 1600's were known as the family Rossocampo) mean anything to you?

Whom the Jewish media wants elected, they coddle. The rest get lampooned and libeled. Why else did 99% of the Congress, both in 2006 in Lebanon and in 2008 in Gaza, vote resolutions of support for Israel? While the entire rest of the world recoiled in horror and disgust? In both cases over 400 Representatives voted in favor, and only about 4-5 against. No politician in America can survive the easily-provoked fury of the Jews.

We goyim of America are their slaves and chattels. Bernie Madoff stole $50 billion and shipped it to Israeli banks, and there is a vast conspiracy of silence about it. Do you think the SEC and the SWIFT system were unaware of it? If so I have a bridge to sell you.

Their infinite greed has brought the world financial system to the brink of collapse, just as their greed plunged Europe into two world wars, and Russia into Communism which was the excuse for an immensely profitable Cold War. Now that is over, we have an everlasting War On Terror. Read Smedley Butler again. The Jews are experts at getting other people to fight wars with each other, while they finance both sides and rake in the profits.

You are blaming the wrong person and the wrong system, when you rail against Barack Obama. He is no more a free political agent than my local dog-catcher or school-crossing guard. No politician in America is. They all serve the interests of Israel and its people, not America. From Eisenhower's ignoring of the Lavon Affair (go look it up - Jews were bombing Americans in Egypt to try to turn America against that country) to Lyndon Johnson's abandoning the sailors of the Liberty in 1967 to the attempts of the Jews to sink it, to George Bush's ignoring the dancing Mossad agents watching the the WTC burn, and the millions of dollars in stock trades before that day, our Presidents have averted their eyes as the Jews raped and plundered America and the world.

Our Presidents and our Congress and our Supreme Court all serve the interests of Zionism and of Israel. Get used to it, little Christian worm. (Speaking to myself, not to you.)

Yours in truth,
Lemuel Gulliver.

Roland said...

Sans Authoritas wrote that

"Of course, atheist materialists believe that all is matter. As an aquaintance of mine pointed out, "To Marx, you are a clump of matter. You manipulate other clumps of matter." Where does morality come into play when matter is merely manipulating other clumps of matter? Logically speaking, there is no room for morality in atheism. You manipulate matter, and there can be no right or wrong in it."

Learn to think for yourself and stop being so smug in your ignorance. Once you finish casting stones, perhaps you and your friend will contemplate the possibility that the religious have no monopoly on morality, just as they patently have no monopoly on clear thinking.

Sans Authoritas said...

Roland, instead of insulting me, why not avail yourself of the opportunity to offer the atheist principle of morality? Tell us why one clump of matter should treat any other clump of matter in a particular way. What is your reasoning?

-Sans Authoritas

Bob said...

Mr. Grigg,
In the words of John Ashcroft, you seem overly concerned with the phantom of lost liberties. Don't you realize that indefinite detention and torture is what is keeping us safe from Immanuel Goldstein?

Roland said...

Sans Authoritas,

I should have availed myself of the opportunity to ignore your prejudices, especially as this is not the forum for your obsession.

You took an intelligent and well-argued comment on state-encouraged torture (gleefully cheerled by notorious God-botherers, by the way) and implied that atheists' supposed lack of morality had something to do with it. It's not just 'authoritas' that you're 'sans'.

Rest assured that this is the last you will hear from me on this topic. Feel free to get on your high horse and have the last word.

Anonymous said...

Bob hit the nail on the head.

The problems with the Soviets is they actually had a geographic border making them identifiable. Then were so ignoble as to GIVE UP (to become a run of the mill kleptocracy). Just like the domestic commies had to switch to defending the trees because the poor weren't so enamored of communism, the domestic totalitarians had to switch to protecting us from the bogeyman which wouldn't up and quit on them.

Jim O'Connor
The Colony, Texas

ManfredEye said...

Problem is that he is still cleaning up after Bushes crap. Give him a chance or should we have voted for McCain and his sugar girl.

Sans Authoritas said...

Roland, I hope it wasn't your last word. There's no doubt that it was mostly so-called "Christians" that cheered on torture. I didn't blame the atheists alone, though I did make a side note about them. I didn't even say that to be atheist, you have to be immoral. There are plenty of atheists who are more moral than Christians. There are a lot of "Christians" who are treating prisoners as means to their ends. It seems to me I was pretty equal opportunity on casting blame.

Your furystorm seems to be more than a little out of proportion with what I said.

-Sans Authoritas

no we can't said...

The new Manchurian puppet will read scripts for the rulers just like all the feckless figureheads before him. Sorry there won't be three hookers and a bottle of champagne for all but there might be some form of fiat currency welfare check courtesy of uncle sugar's overheating money printing presses. What I wonder is four years from now when things are ten times worse will Mr.O get a free pass? Change you can't handle change! (sorry Jack N.)

Anonymous said...


The fact that we had a "choice" between two roughly equally bad alternatives means we should give the one who won a chance? Doesn't follow. He's going to bleed the anemic patient just like McCain was going to, only difference is the shape of the blade used to make the cut.

Jim O'Connor
The Colony, Texas

Anonymous said...

Next up...the feds trump the Second Amendment and State's rights:

H.R.45Firearm Licensing

Click on THOMAS for the Full Text of the Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 (Introduced in House), H.R. 45.

Tom Eddlem said...

I hope you're wrong, Will. But I've lived long enough to know that you're probably right ... even without you telling me so.

He revealed where he stands the very next day after the Gitmo executive orders by reversing the Mexico City policy. We're going bankrupt, and he decided it's time to start financing abortionists. Sheesh.

I'm still happy Obama made the Gitmo executive order. I pray he surprises me on this issue.

Doc Ellis said...

Gulliver 1.13am: "Doesn't that picture of the blond little white girls smiling with their perfect blond white teeth,",
There is only one blond white girl in the lead pic to this column. The other white girl is a brunette. The blonde may be advocating waterboarding. The brunette seems to suggest that Obama is a mickymouse kind of guy. What is the matter with you that you cannot tell the diffence between a blonde and a brunette or between what's on their chests?
What does your anti-Jew rant have to do with Will's point that the torture state endures?

Will, thank you for all that you write.

mongol Doc Ellis 124