Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The nerve of these people

Guest post by Capt. Fogg of Human Voices

(Ed. note: I'd like to welcome a new guest blogger to The Reaction, Capt. Fogg, an Illinois-raised resident of South Florida, "a tropical paradise" somewhere near Jupiter. Human Voices, subtitled "Shadows and Fogg" is one of the real highlights of the blogosphere, a blog that I've come to enjoy immensely since I first came across it a few months ago. It's extremely well-written and daringly provocative, addressing a variety of mostly political topics. Capt. Fogg will contibute on an occasional basis here, but I encourage you to check out his blog regularly. -- MJWS)

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"They hung themselves with fabricated nooses made out of clothes and bed sheets" said Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris to reporters. "They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."

If we have no other evidence for the intrinsic evil of such men as are being held incommunicado and without charges in wire cages, we are now given the fact that they were willing do die rather than to face living the rest of their lives under intolerable conditions. One can only wonder whether the 460 Guantanamo prisoners are better off than the unknown number of men and boys grabbed from who knows what street in who knows what country for who knows what reason and sent off to be beaten, tortured and terrorized in who knows what dungeon in some Central Asiatic hell of a country. If there is anything asymmetric to be seen, it is the might and power of the United States Vs. some guy in a cage.

The perception of symmetry of course is subjective. An American willing to die rather than reveal our positions to an enemy would be a hero and to attempt escape from Colditz was a duty, but the massive asymmetry between the way we treated the men who beheaded hundreds of thousands, murdered tens of millions and bayoneted babies and the way we treat those who may or may not have done anything more than having been seen talking to the wrong person is stunning. Men like Ishi Shiro who spread anthrax, plague and smallpox over uncountable women and children and who conducted unspeakable medical experiments on innocents were set free after WW II. The slaughter of innocents hardly bothers us, but the suicide of a prisoner? The nerve of such people.

To what low have we sunk if we can as easily dehumanize others, enemy or otherwise to the point where we can beat them to death and yet see their suicide as an act of war, a sinister plot against us, a publicity stunt? How depraved are we if we can call ourselves the last best hope of the world while acting like the greatest monsters of history? How, if we foam at the mouth about Godless Liberals and break the legs of teenagers do we call ourselves human?

How ironic is it that millions of us obsess about the apocalypse and Rapture and the coming of the beast, when we are in fact the Beast?

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