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What I saw this evening was grotesque, it is more than I ever feared would be mentioned after 9/11.

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.


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Comments

The following comments are for "America? The Second Roman Empire?"
by londongrey

Torture
Sad, indeed.

But one danger that we face in decrying these talks is the assumption that they may result in the use of torture by the American military. The American military (like every military I've ever come across) has been using torture for years, only they don't call it torture. There's nothing new in this. What's new is that it's being openly discussed and that a disturbing number of people in the general public seem to support it!

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: April 13, 2005 )

not the 2nd
Technically, this would make us, at least, the 4th Roman Empire (Reich, as it's also known).

( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: April 16, 2005 )

Thanks
Alex

First of all .I can't thank you enough for your extremely kind comments on my piece on John Paul . I too am not entirely of that persuasion . What I wrote about him is purely personal in nature.

While still on this topic I couldn't help feeling that over a two day period the world went from the sublime to the ridiculous ..from the exquisite beauty of his funeral mass to a spectacularly over-the-top royal wedding that made my insides crawl.

All that you sat here is bang on. May I say however that the British establishment is not too far behind in this regard...shades of 'pefidious albion'.

Britain certainly has the military muscle to take on all comers.The crucial difference is ,with centuries of Empire behind them ,Britain is infinitely more subtle about it - and far less ham handed than the US.

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: April 16, 2005 )

Responsibility
We have a huge responsibility to project the right attitude when it comes to certain issues. I am all for an open-minded discussion on any issue, from the treatment of criminals to euthanasia. However, to have such a topic discussed with such glee was sickening. Do we not abhor torture in countries such as Iran?

I know we are talking about terrorism here, but what sets us part from these terrorists? Our mind set?

RJ your piece was so beautifully written, I read it a couple of times as there was no debate in there about your beliefs, just a simple reflection. Thank you for sharing it.

Alex :-)

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: April 17, 2005 )

Thanks again Alex
Alex

I 've been really enthused by what you've just said about my piece .Your description of it as 'just a simple reflection'was so very apt.I really don't think anyone could have put it better.

Thank you ever so much ,once again.

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: April 18, 2005 )





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