Sunday, January 04, 2009

WPost Columnist Excuses Torture

By David Swanson
January 4, 2009

According to Albert Camus, "It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners." But Washington Post editorial writer Ruth Marcus has joined the side of the executioners and provided a clear example of how that is respectably done in our time and place.

Read on.


Florenec Chan said...

Ruth Marcus should just sum it up succinctly as Nixon did: If the president does it, it is not illegal. Her lengthy arguments, which try to prove nonsense using circular logic, are a waste of everybody's time.

The Washington Post is getting weirder and weirder.

knowbuddhau said...

Thanks for the excellent article; insightful, incisive. and a great read.

The Marcuses of our time are blatantly engaging in the primary mission of think tanks and their bombardiers: myth-making.

"[T]hink tanks... monitor and adjust governance norms and networks by using research, analysis, and advocacy to structure discourse about social problems and solutions among multiple elites and in the popular imagination. [Retrieved from]

ALAN WATTS: It’s very inconvenient to have the kind of god, who is this authoritarian boss of the world, prying down over your shoulder all the time, knowing your inmost thoughts, and judging you. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, and everybody’s happy to be rid of it. It has never significantly improved anybody’s behavior. In the so-called Ages of Faith, people were just as immoral if not more so than they are today. Because you see, all this fixed notion of god is idolatry! If thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image of anything that is in the heaven above etc., the most dangerous and pernicious images are not of wood or stone, nobody takes those seriously, they’re the images made of imagination and conception and thought. [End Watts]

HOWARD ZINN: Here are some of the elements of the mindset that stand in the way, in the way for Obama, in the way for the Democratic Party, in the way for many Americans, in the way for us. One of the elements in our mindset is the idea, somehow, that the United States is exceptional. In the world of social science, in, you know, that discipline called social science, there’s actually a phrase for it. It’s called American exceptionalism. And what it means is the idea that the United States is unique in the world, you know, that we are different, that we--not just different, we’re better. Right? We are better than other people. You know, our society is better than other societies. This is a very dangerous thing to think.


So, yeah, and I began to realize certain things, that war corrupts everybody, corrupts everybody who engages in it. You start off, they’re the bad guys. You make an interesting psychological jump. The jump is this: since they’re the bad guys, you must be the good guys. No, they may very well be the bad guys. They may be fascists and dictators and bad, really bad guys. That doesn’t mean you’re good, you know? And when I began to look at it that way, I realized that wars are fought by evils on both sides. You know, one is a little more evil than the other. But even though you start in a war with sort of good intentions--we’re going to defeat fascism, we’re going to do this--you end up being corrupted, you end up being violent, you end up killing a lot of innocent people, because you’ve decided from the beginning that you’re right, and then you don’t have to ask questions anymore. That’s an interesting psychological thing that you--trick that you play. Well, you start out--you make a decision at the very beginning. The decision is: they’re wrong, I’m right. Once you have made that decision, you don’t have to think anymore. Then anything you do goes. Anything you do is OK, because you made the decision early on that they’re bad, you’re good. Then you can kill several hundred thousand people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Then you can kill 100,000 people in Dresden. It doesn’t matter. You’re not thinking about it. Yeah, war corrupts everybody who engages in it. [End Zinn]

Obviously, Marcus has made that jump, a fateful choice that debases us into apes with nuclear-powered clubs.

knowbuddhau said...

Democracy Now! January 02, 2009

Howard Zinn on "War and Social Justice"

The quote, "That's an interesting psychological thing that you--trick that you play," is at 50:45