Fleshing it Out

Snapshots of Our Political Pathology

The Report on Torture and a Glimpse of the Dark Spirit

Last week, while the nation’s attention was riveted on the events in Boston, a bi-partisan report on torture was issued. (Republican Asa Hutchinson was one of the heads of the group that produced the report.)

The report confirmed what we all should already know, but that political dissimulation has kept unofficial: the United States engaged in the practice of brutal torture, sanctioned at the highest levels of the U.S. government in a manner unprecedented in our history. This, despite there being no evidence that such practices serve any useful purpose.

If the purposes are not utilitarian, the reasons must lie elsewhere. And here we see the dark spirit. Forget the issues of American law, and international treaty, violated by those during the Bush presidency. Look at the place our leaders were coming from. Torture is as far as you can get from “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Torture, for which there is no practical reason, is an expression of the kind sadistic cruelty that stains the darkest pages of human history. This is the spirit that finds expression in dungeons, on the rack, in the chambers of the Gestapo. And here it found expression through the people nominated by the Republican Party and re-elected by half the American people.

And prosecuted by no one, including a successor who said we must look forward and not backward.

Is there in America a crisis at the level of the spirit? One need look no further.

2 thoughts on “The Report on Torture and a Glimpse of the Dark Spirit

  1. David R

    Without too many facts we must derive our notions from what bits and pieces we have and a general understanding of what is going on in the global scene at this time.

    I venture to observe that neither the Republican party as represented by our elected officials nor the Democrat Party likewise neither are the significant real players in the U S actions in the world today. I no longer can see these as ‘leaders’ but are mainly employees ostensibly representing the will of the American people as per the constitution but to a large extent have become like maybe puppets or pawns in a larger ‘system’.

    As for the policy of torture we would look at the immediate scene with Question One: Who were the unknown contract interrogators ? Who placed them in that position ? Why ?

    There are many more questions unanswered re the Iraq war. First it is true thet GWB must be seen as the Liar in Chief re WMDs and all the rest used to scare the American people, true ! But what was that all about, what could have been his purpose and what connections motivated him ?

    Question two (of many more): the main immediate goal was protection and control of Iraqi Oil at the cost of American lives and losses of several kinds and expense of billions in added debt. Now where does Iraqi oil go and who is in control of the distribution ?

    So we have lies, deception, inhuman unnecessary cruelty, aggression (with the phony cover as preemption), subjugaion and veritable theft of the resources and control of others.

    These are the marks in the trail of his Satanic Majesty the God of This World whom some serve with religious dedicaton.

    It seems to be beyond labeling as Republican or Democrat who are mere tools and instruments (as is the debt ridden United States today) and to fail to look beyond may be to delude one self or maybe even mislead others; who knows ?


    1. Andrew Bard Schmookler Post author

      You and I, David R., are coming at this from different worldviews, but interestingly there are some important parallels in our conception of what’s going on.

      You talk about “his Satanic Majesty,” by which you presumably mean a literal Being of an evil sort. I talk about “a sick and broken spirit” that is animating a destructive force.

      You talk about the politicians not being at the heart of what’s happening, but rather being more the instruments of the real power. And I see it that way as well.

      In your comment, I gather you’re a bit impatient with “labeling as Republican or Democrat.” In this our positions are apparently different. I see the Republican Party as having become the action arm of that destructive thing which it is serving.

      Even if they are mere tools and instruments, they are important tools because politics is where the power to steer the nation plays out. Preventing that destructive thing behind the action from governing our destiny requires that power be drained away from that action arm in the arena of power.

      It’s just like dealing with Germany in World War II. The impetus came from a ruling group in Berlin, particularly the Fuehrer. But to defeat the darkness, it was necessary to defeat the action arm of the Nazi regime, in this case the German military.

      So also in our politics now there’s a battle, and while there are no impressively good guys, there is one political entity –the Republican Party– that must be defeated lest the thing behind them be, to much too great an extent, “the God of this world.”


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