The belief that the ethic of force will last forever is a presumption of the totalitarian mind. It says: none of the lights of the old morality can guide us through our latest plans. It says: our dangers are unprecedented, and so are the methods we must employ. This cry is heard on many sides, in America, while the world looks on dismayed, because they have never seen us like this before, and they can trace no proportion between the cause and the effects.At the end of an otherwise excellent analysis of Attorney General Mukasey's "legal analysis" of torture, all I can think is: "Oh, please."
Start with the Native Americans, who were here and treated to every form of brutality we could muster for over 400 years. One of Columbus's first acts was to make slaves of the people he found here. Slavery became the theme of this country, and we soon had to import them, running a profitable trade in rum from the West Indies to Europe, and slaves from Africa to America. (Makes that logo bitterly ironic, doesn't it?) That lasted 300 years, and we're still working out the consequences of it. Then there is the sordid history of the Cold War, and what we did in Central and South America. School of the Americas ring a bell for anyone? That's their logo at the top of the post. And while the name has changed, the school still functions.
The world has never seen us like this before? No; finally, we see ourselves as the world sees us. Finally the part of the world that matters, i.e., Europe, Australia, Japan, sees us for what we are. Finally, we are beginning to care. Or are we? Anyone calling for Mukasey's impeachment? Any Senator denounce him last week?
I didn't hear about it, either.
Would it be torture if it were done to you? Is that what it takes to make us see? At least Simeon was a good and holy man, and when he saw the truth, it was a blessing.