What follows is the reaction of one reader to a horrifying report by Jeremy Scahill about the continuing brutalization of prisoners at Gitmo by US military personnel. And we're not talking about "enhanced interrogation techniques" that a goodly number of our fellow Americans seem to think are OK. No, we're talking about the good old fashioned kind of torture such as beatings, eye-gouging, bone-breaking, pepper spray in the eyes, squeezing testicles . . . that kind of stuff.
Who's stunned? Who can't believe it? Anyone really surprised?
The unthinking knee-jerk adoration of all things military, the hagiographies wasted on Generals and Admirals, the fear of stepping on some goon's toes which prevents even the slightest criticism of soldiers (or "warriors", as they now dub themselves in a vivid display of megalomania) begins with the worship of high school athletes and ends with the fascism now rampant in our uniformed population. Surprised? Look what the same phenomenon did to German civil society. It took millions of lives and the almost complete destruction of the country to change their views on the people who are supposed to "protect", and to act on those views. Took them fifty years, too.
I've had precisely the same thoughts. That we could have many of our leaders, media types, and a substantial portion of polite society defending the torture of prisoners automatically means that we've nurtured people to carry out the torture. It takes brutal people, thugs and bullies, to brutalize others. And America has, I fear, millions of them. And there's no doubt at all you can find them in abundance in the ranks of our sainted military. But don't tell that to just anybody or you're likely to get the crap beat out of you.