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I am going to invite you to stop blaming Republicans for torture.

Firstly, here is some Nietzsche to prepare the ground for my diary.

I am going to invite you to stop blaming Republicans for torture.

Firstly, here is some Nietzsche to prepare the ground for my diary.

"Regarding a woman, for example, those men who are more modest consider the mere use of the body and sexual gratification a sufficient and satisfying sign of "having," of possessions. Another type, with a more suspicious and demanding thirst for possession, sees the 'question mark', the illusory quality of such "having" and wants subtler tests, above all in order to know whether the woman does not only give herself to him but also guves up for his sake was she has or would like to have... A third type, however, does not reach the end of his mistrust and desire for having even so: he asks himself whether the woman, when she gives up everything for him, does not possibly do this for a phantom of him. He wants to be known deep down, abysmally deep down, before he is capable of being loved at all; he dares to let himself be fathomed. He feels that his beloved is fully in his possession only when she no longer deceives herself about him,, when she loves him just as much for his devilry and hidden insatiability as for his graciousness, patience, and spirituality." [Emphasis added]

Ok. The wise among you may not need any further analysis.

What does this have to do with torture?

Ok. My contention is that the blindness of 'love' for America has prepared the ground for the torture. Torture is nothing new, it is the open debate over torture that is new.

As with any debate, orthodoxies emerge. So far, reading DKos, I have not found anything other than proof of Nietzsche's words in the negative. Permit me to explain.

Blaming Republicans for torture.

This won't do. Torture goes on under whatever party. Most liberals can reference the School of the Americas, finishing school for many Latin American tortures. Is the School of the Americas closed for business each time Democrats are in power? Please. This is not a Republican problem, this is an American problem.

The temptation to blame Republicans or to blame individuals (as if there IS such a thing as an individual) would permit the love of country to be sustained at the same time as condemning torture. This is why it is proving quite popular. It may even, in time, come to be the preferred option, as 'the least worst scenario' of those on the right. If a trial of Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld settles people down again, and this episode can be attributed to the actions of particular individuals, then that would be a price potentially worth paying.

So, I don't blame Republicans, I blame America.

Many Republicans are happy to broaden their love of America precisely because of these disclosures of barbarity. It may appear perverse, but if we follow Nietzsche's description of the most abusive form of possession, then to embrace all of the dark side of your country, what greater show of love can one make? With this logic, there is only one logical group to blame for torture - its victims.

This is why I doubt that it can ever transpire that there is broad support from such people for prosecutions. Any move towards justice via prosecutions of Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc, any move towards justice for victims of US torture (and it is, to me, quite revealing that the bulk of DKos torture diaries are more intent on prosecuting the last administration than seeking justice for the victims of torture. In fact, it appears that "progressives" feel themselves to be victims of what was done by the last administration, because it represents an assault on "what America stands for in the world" etc - In that sense, the diaries here reveal that the abusive relationship remains in place, and that many progressives are hooked on defending "America" from 'evil men' like Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, we all know the names.)

What will actually happen if these people are prosecuted? 'Progressives' will feel they scored a victory? Like the Scooter Libby victory and your little Fitzmas? That was a fool's delight* in one small success to be set against literally thousands of failures to hold those in power accountable in the slightest for their actions.

Does anybody believe such prosecutions will 'end torture'? Will they even destroy the Republican Party? I doubt it. Afer the trials, guilty or inncoent, they will be recast as martyrs, punished for putting country first. Besides, Obama is in the White House right now, supposedly from the other end of 'the political spectrum' (one so narrow that it appears to be a point rather than a scale) and this is still going on. How are the investigations to proceed while the same policies are in place? This is clearly why there is so much pressure from the right to maintain the status quo.

The right understands that if this is made a bipartisan problem, ie: an American problem, then nothing will come of it.

Perhaps, for a community like DKos, that is aligned with the Democratic Party, such a scenario is impossible to escape from. There are only two losing scenarios :

  1. Bushco walks - nothing changes
  1. A few individuals take a fall - Kossacks crow about it for a few days - nothing changes (Scooter Libby Trial mk II)

The radical alternative is to abandon the Republicans/Bushco as bad guys (even though they are bad guys, but privileging them as something uniquely bad etc is a nonsense, Naomi Klein and others have documented US practice of torture as SOP for decades) and embrace a bigger narrative that restructures foreign policy itself, that does not produce detainees in the first place, rather than arguing over their treatment afterwards. This torture problem requires a peace movement, it requires a public awakening of disdain for military action as an acceptable means of advancing (or defending, take your pick) US interests. If that means that Democratic candidates who support / vote for military action have to be targeted for deselection then fine.

In the midst of this torture debate, the facts of continued occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now expanding action into Pakistan is continually being lost in an attempt to settle scores and pin Republicans as having destroyed America's reputation. Anything, and I mean anything, that takes attention away from forcing an end to these occupations, yes, even the trial and imprisonment of Mr Cheney, is not serving progressive ends. For this reason, I say, stop blaming Republicans for torture.

Thank you.

[As of now, there is not a single diary in the rec and recent diaries list that is tied directly to military action ongoing in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Rather supports my position.]

[Because of my constitutional allergy to doxa, I don't read the comments, but thank you anyway]

*If you want, you can read Lacan or Zizek for distinction between fool and knave with regard to stereotypical thinking of the left and right.

Originally posted to ere i am jh on Fri May 29, 2009 at 11:29 PM PDT.

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