Just a few thoughts as the year spins down to a merciful end.
These are strange times. Kind of un-fun dark and anxious times. The nation that I grew up in seems to be a fading memory, and there seems to be little recourse on the part of our elected officials. We now live in a place where rule of law (for what it is worth) has been displaced at least in part by rule of man.
Where we see:
Former Guantanamo inmate set free. Australian David Hicks, “the first person convicted at an American war crimes trial since World War II was freed from prison on Saturday, after completing his U.S. imposed sentence.” Hicks spent five years in detention at Guantanamo Bay, followed by a nine month sentence in prison. “He was told to remain silent about any alleged abuse he suffered while in custody.”There can be no practical reason to prohibit this information from being discussed except for political embarrassment. Not sure what a war crimes tribunal might think of the limitations on communication - they might frown on the "don't tell anybody about the torture until after the end of the political season or we will drag you back and torture you for the remainder of the nine year term." Nice.
And discussions about torture inevitably decay into arguments about the minutia of just how effective one form of torture might be over another in some hypothetical (ie unreal) story line. Rule of law. No discussion about due process so the base assumption here is that said person is just guilty, not found guilty by judicial process. If the decision about torture is predicated on effectiveness, then why don't we quite fucking around and apply it on the general US criminal population (more so than it already is). Torture and more importantly the threat of torture exist as a weapon of fear against an entire population. As a tool of information gathering it is denounced as useless so can we all just shut the fuck up about it and move on.
On the whole the Hicks situation reminds me of the redacted judicial opinion which, in whole reads:
"The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent."particularly given the details of the case.
The whole rubric of 'security' has been so poisoned, that any mention of the word invokes the same feel good impressions that the Ministry of Love invoked in our demi hero Winston Smith. Security is about Fear Management rather than some archaic notion of personal or societal safety. It disgusts me.
As the new year approaches, there are quite a few interesting things that await us. Besides the agonizing Kabuki of the political process, we will see the steaming remnants of the executive branch mopped up and placed into the ash bin of history. We sit on a cusp - an inflection point really - where decisions made now will have generational consequences. Think about Miranda and the fallout from that, except for the judicial steam engine speeding in the other direction.
Not much else to say.
all things are untied
perhaps we're boiling over inside
they've been telling lies
who's been telling lies?
there are no angels
there are devils in many ways
take it like a man
X, The World's A Mess It's In My Kiss