Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The torture report, or the seamless garment of death

One of the devil's greatest tricks is getting us to sin without ever giving us the thing we are willing to sin for. The torture report tells us that not only did we end up torturing innocent men (ice baths, 60+ hours of standing sleep deprivation, rectal feeding, etc.) but the bad guys didn't even give us actionable intelligence. The American Right, still in the thrall of neocons for whom it is always 1938 and everyone is Hitler, says the Democrats are at fault for handing our enemies a propaganda victory.

The Obama administration is reluctant to use the word "torture," and it's inconceivable that they will hold anyone in the torture regime responsible for their actions. So he's pro-abortion and pro-torture by default... a seamless garment of death.

I'm old enough to remember a time when you could think of the United States as basically a good nation that, for all its blunders, had its heart in the right place. I grew up with Ronald Reagan, the shining city on the hill, Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall, and so on. I remember when the Evil Empire dissolved on Christmas Day 1991 when the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time. Nothing in this world is all together evil since our being is sustained by the God in whose image and likeness we are made. But the United States did serious evil under George W. Bush and it's unlikely Barack Obama or any future president will hold anyone accountable for that evil.

We like to think of ourselves as so much freer, smarter, more tolerant, more liberal, and just plain better than our savage ancestors. We like to tell ourselves that we've transcended the old superstitions and ideologies that led to the Holocaust or the Communist bloodbaths. It's a bad joke when we consider the bins of slaughtered infants or the dozens of men whom we subjected to torture. We haven't transcended the past. Transcendence can't happen without repentance.

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