December 06, 2004

Ogged on Torture and Tyranny

I've just put up a political post, so why not another one. First a caveat: Orin Kerr has an explanation of why our government's recent attempt to claim that evidence obtained by torture can be used against Guantanamo detainees might not be meant to make torture official U.S. policy. (Short version, as far as I can tell: The idea is that the government is "not inclined to say that a detainee has a particular right unless a court affirmatively rules that this is so"; that includes the right to challenge evidence, even--perhaps hypothetically--should it be based on torture.)

Nevertheless, the evidence seems to me clear that in fact the U.S. government is at the very best countenancing torture and using "evidence" based from it. (See Katherine's first comment to this post, which she backs up here.)

Over to Ogged:

Now we know how it happens. I remember, as a kid, seeing news footage of people on the streets in Moscow, wondering what was wrong with them, why they were willing to live under a repressive regime, what about the Russian (or East German, or Romanian...) character allowed them to become repressors and repressed. But, of course, there was nothing special about them at all. In "response" to whatever threat, they and their government allowed some curtailing of freedom, and the logic of that move (threat necessitates greater control and less liberty) is inexorable. Most people, because they're not directly affected, don't think about their liberty at all; some people (like me), are upset, complain, but do nothing substantive; and a few people (always too few), try to make a difference.

I had to restrain myself from copying the whole post. Read it.

Posted by Matt Weiner at December 6, 2004 07:59 PM

To the person whose comment was just deleted: That seems like it might have been relevant, and certainly interesting, but DON'T SPAM EVERY ENTRY WITH IT. If you want to use my blog to promote your stuff, send me a polite e-mail and I'll think about it; the comments are for discussion.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at December 9, 2004 07:24 AM