Like many of my father's friends he had a scarred face and that old world dignity rarely encountered on this side of the Atlantic. I had met such men before. They would kiss my mother's hand and click their heels softly, not brashly like the German officers on television, but in a way that conveyed respect and grace. But this man was different; he commanded my father's respect like no one I'd ever seen. My father had dined with Kennedy and Johnson, but he never spoke of them as he did of Jan Karski. They were mere presidents; Karski was a hero.
In Iraq, or in some CIA prison it's a good bet that some innocent man is being tortured. He may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time; perhaps he was just born into the wrong family. Perhaps he also has a six-year-old son. What could he be thinking?
As many of us here try to keep the issue of torture alive in the blogosphere, the question of the causes of torture must arise. Why do seemingly normal people inflict pain on others? Do we train our soldiers to be cruel, or do the cruel become soldiers, or are we all cruel? Do our leaders really have so little regard for humanity, or do they believe that the end justifies the means? Is this a subject that no one wants to read about; are we in denial?
The title of this post is a quote from a Guardian by Professor Joanna Bourke; more of that article is quoted later.
On October 25, 05 the American Civil Liberties Union released an analysis of new and previously released autopsies obtained under the freedom of information act and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions. According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides.
A CommonDreams.org article by Peter Phillips takes the corporate media to task for failing to cover this story, "at least 95percent of the daily papers in the US didn't bother to pick up the story".
There isn't enough outrage about torture, not to my estimation. After all, we only see a few stories about it every month. It's not like it's happening in our country. And the stock market is up, gas prices are falling, the Republicans are on the ropes, and its Christmas shopping season. Perhaps if we saw all those headlines at once...
So I tried the new Guardian search engine this morning. I put in three keywords: torture, Iraq, and US. The results included exactly 911 articles. Is that karma or what? I went through every one of those 911 Guardian articles and selected the highlights. The results are below the fold.
Zoom below the fold to see it all.
Estimated cost to feed all the world's hungry and give them basic health care: $13 billion above current expenditure. (UN Development Program 1998)
Total estimated cost of Iraq war: about $700 billion (Institute for Policy Studies)
The $204.4 billion appropriated thus far for the war in Iraq could have purchased any of the following desperately needed services in our country:
· 46,458,805 uninsured people receiving health care
· 3,545,016 elementary school teachers
· 27,093, 73 Head Start places for children
· 1,841,833 affordable housing units
· 24,072 new elementary schools
· 39,665,748 scholarships for university students
· 3,204,265 port container inspectors. (Institute for Policy Studies)
Waves are formed by wind's friction over the surface of the water. They can travel incredible distances. That huge roller in Huntington Beach may have started as a ripple off the Hawaiian coast. Waves are pure energy moving through the water, energy that could be turned into electricity. Anywhere there are waves; there is free sustainable power. All we have to do is figure out how to capture it. Thanks to recent research that's starting to happen.
The map below shows annual average wave power in kilowatts per metre of crest width for various sites around the world. Any area over 15kW per metre can generate power at competitive prices.
Dive below the fold for more,