Friday, March 03, 2006


The Editors:

So please don’t write a big long post pointing out times in the past when you said torture is bad, because that doesn’t cut it. All it is going to do is make me feel very, very sleepy, and so I’m going to have to have another cup of coffee, and if I have another cup of coffee before I get some food in my stomach … well, it’s not going to be a pretty picture for anyone involved. What is really going to put me in my place is if someone - say, for example, you - actually decides that the Bush policy of extralegal, unaccountable torture is worth getting upset about, perhaps even more deserving of disapprobation than Ward Churchill getting tenure, Al Gore’s views on visa policy, Michael Moore’s waistline, or whatever else the leading lights of today’s denatured conservatism think everyone should be gnashing their teeth about this week. (Or last week.) Because right now, America tortures people. You live in a country where the President has declared an effectively permanent state of war, and can, and does, as a matter of policy, and on a global scale, engage in torture. Morally, practically, spiritually, profoundly: this is wrong. It is worth being upset about. It is worth overlooking the use of literary devices you don’t agree with. It is worth forgiving minor policy disagreements. It is even worth telling people you otherwise agree with that, when they defend, excuse, or minimize the situation, they are wrong - morally, practically, spiritually, profoundly, even - and they, through deed or inaction, disgrace America. Because they do. And if you did it, you’d probably be more polite than me. And they might even listen. And then, eventually, this might change. And then I’d be completely busted, and I’d have to start berating you about, I don’t know, marginal tax rates, and uh, workplace harrassment lawsuits, and all those other things I’m told I care so deeply about, instead of about the corruption of the soul of my country. Please let me live with that shame instead.