Monday, December 15, 2014

Orwellian Word Torture

Cheney unchained | Power Line:

Watching things like this Meet The Press segment I'm reminded of how our technically and socially cocooned western "Disney existence" makes us extremely vulnerable to thinking that problems like "long lines at Space Mountain" might constitute something with some relation to "discomfort" in the real world.

In 1984 and in Animal Farm, Orwell gave us a solid background in the relative ease with which a generalized media environment can totally change the perceived meaning of words for people living in the bubble of the influence.

So we see words like "racism" once about slavery, lynching, bull whips and Jim Crow (back when it was Democrats that ran "Animal Farm") now becomes "not supporting BOcare", or not running around saying "Hands up, don't shoot" after a convenience store robbing thug that attacked a police officer ends up shot dead during his assault of the officer.

So too "torture". What was once known and recognized as being treatment that went on for months and years and often brought death or permanent injuries carried for life, is now reduced largely to "waterboarding".

So we get insanity like Todd asking Cheney "if Iranians waterboarded a US soldier in the future, might we not want to see them tried for war crimes"? Indeed ... as Cheney responds (with less detail), such methods being used by folks that have no trouble twisting joints out of sockets, cutting off various appendages, gouging out eyes, blowing up intestines with air, etc, etc are not all that likely to go with waterboarding as a method.

In the insane "hypothetical world" that we live in however, I find it very easy to believe that if as far as Todd knew, the US had never used waterboarding on a prisoner and the hypothetical Iranian incident happened, he and all sorts of US (as well as international) media and government folks would be standing up and defending Iran saying "The US waterboards it's own soldiers as part of SERE training! How can it POSSIBLY seek to call Iranians "war criminals" for using a technique it uses on it's own soldiers!!!". Of course, it could not ... they would actually be right!

Then we have the case of hundreds of Vietnam era veterans covered in the linked article that actually WERE tortured at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Outrage from American press or elites? Nada ... in fact, they typically side with the North Vietnamese as being the aggrieved party.

One of the veterans actually tortured is quoted in this paragraph that I find to be useful:
Our world is not completely good or evil. To proclaim we will never use any form of enhanced interrogations causes our friends to think we are naive and eases our enemies’ recruitment of radical terrorists to plot attacks on innocent kids, men and women – or any infidel. If I were to catch a “mad bomber” running away from an explosive I would not hesitate a second to use “enhanced interrogation,” including waterboarding, if it would save lives of innocent people.
The rub is that it seems obvious that not only are good and evil both in presence, the positioning of which is which is often not what one might expect. It doesn't take very long to realize that in the eyes of Senator Feinstein or Chuck Todd, Cheney, W, etc are the "evil". The various terrorists (another word that BO and the media is really loathe to use) that might call themselves "Islamic", but our president assures us are not, are sometimes "misguided", or "over zealous" in the eyes of Feinstein, BO, or media elites, but they are clearly not "evil" in the sense of W, Cheney, or even old Dick Nixon.

Nixon and the US military were formerly juxtaposed with the zealous and at least mostly justified N Vietnamese. They may not have treated their US captives "perfectly", but one would need to understand "their culture" and centuries of slights or perceived slights by the west before having anything at all to say about their methods -- and even then, anything smacking of "judgement" would be presumptuous coming from a nation that once had slaves and mistreated Indians!

So too the long suffering Arab culture. If they seem to be "violent" to the less well educated, well, there were the Crusades,  the colonial era, the creation of Israel, and of course the corruption of western corporations and money in the grubby oil business. All the potentially problematic behavior of "the group that describes itself as the Islamic State" is to be viewed from some value free perspective of high minded consideration for all of the ills imparted by Western civilization, with no potential thought that 1400 years of Islam may have been less than perfect all on it's own.

We know that Cheney and W are evil. We don't even know what to call ISIL -- or ISIS. Our media elites have not fully succeeded in alchemy of turning ISIL into "good" as they did with the PLO, the Nicaraguan rebels, N Vietnam and the USSR, but they are well on their way -- we don't even clearly know what they are called, but it would certainly be unsophisticated to call them "evil" -- or (horror) "Islamic"!

'via Blog this'

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