What I saw this evening was grotesque, it is more than I ever feared would be mentioned after 9/11.
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It was a debate which had its roots in the Pentagon discussing whether torture could be used to get answers from terrorists.
My stomach churned, not because of what was being discussed, but they way in which it was represented. A professor from the City University of New York made a smug, grinning speech about how torture would be affective if used to obtain the location of a planted bomb in New York. Of course, this is all hypothetical. An interrogation specialist from the British army was saying that it would not work as Muslim Fundamentalists (incorrect in itself as it should be extremists and not fundamentalists) would only believe that pain and death are part of the journey to paradise (again a rather ignorant and over generalised statement).
The smug professor then stated with a hugely self satisfied grin that he had written a paper 25 years ago discussing the benefits of torturing the children of these people to get an answer. He said all the while grinning and rolling his eyes in the only way an academic can that it was important to have these thoughts and discussions in order to keep an open mind. Or rather, further his own career and give him the limelight he craves in his own arrogance.
The Pentagon are seriously having this discussion. Without realising that with certain thoughts comes a certain responsibility. IN other words, how this is represented in the media and how it is discussed is just as important as the topic. How this was presented was so vulgar and abhorrent, it was embarrassing to think it was on our television.
The people in power need to wake up to the true impact of what they say in the public arena.
I am truly sorry to bring up the subject of the Bush administration again, but this is a step too far, and I am now filled with real dread as to the direction US political debate is taking. Nothing justifies torture, nothing ever will.
Ask not what you can do to poetry, but what poetry can do to you.