Monday, February 7, 2005

There was nothing surprising about last week's confirmation of Alberto Gonzales except for the tepidness of those who opposed it. Indeed, it appears that there is greater support for a pro-torture attorney general in the United States Senate than there is for Social Security privatization. And why shouldn't there be? As an institution, Social Security has lasted for generations, while torture has been with us for millennia. The nation has weighed its brief anti-torture past and its pro-torture future and has chosen, and moved on. As a wise man or sociopath has recently said, "The debate is over... the issue is dying out.".

The debate is certainly over for John McCain, Congress's resident expert on torture. Some might call McCain a partisan hypocrite who has cheapened the memory of his five grueling years in a Viet Cong torture camp with a proxy vote for genital electrocution and glowstick rape. But these people entirely miss the point: John McCain's vote wasn't the moral resignation of a partisan hack, but a staunch, no-nonsense advocacy of the administration's torture policy based on his own experience. That is, John McCain has declared that torture is justifiable because his own torture was justifiable.

The Viet Cong, after all, were fighting a new kind of enemy in a new kind of war, and John McCain was that enemy - and an enemy possibly possessing valuable information. Could he know when or where villages or cities were about to be bombed, information that could save hundreds, even thousands of lives? If so, who wouldn't agree to beat him repeatedly, deprive him of sleep, and tie his arms and legs into "stress positions" to find out? Who among us wouldn't torture John McCain to stop a ticking bomb?

"But what of the Geneva Conventions?" you may ask. Ah, but the Viet Cong realized how obsolete these thirty-year-old treaties had become. This was a new enemy, one that disregarded such naive "laws of war" as the binary division between civilians and soldiers. In the strange new conflicts of the twentieth century, where guerilla warfare met carpet bombing, napalm, and free-fire zones, the Geneva Conventions seem charmingly quaint to one as enlightened as the Medium Lobster, as they must have to the bodhisattva who woke McCain up by beating him bloody every day, and as they must now to Senator McCain, who has yielded to the higher wisdom of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

That John McCain was ultimately beaten, broken, abused, and violated for nothing is regrettable, but understandable... as regrettable and understandable as the old men and boys rounded up in villagewide sweeps on the way to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. But to make an omelet, one must break eggs, and war, after all, is the biggest fucking omelet there is. We have a lot more eggs to break, and it's good to see the senator join the rest of us while the kitchen burns down.
posted by the Medium Lobster at 12:47 PM




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