Thursday, October 21, 2010

NO APPETITE FOR SELF-EXAMINATION

For some reason, I sometimes pull my news from the BBC.

Last week, I found this entry on a secret prison the US is running at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Nicknamed the Black Hole. The military (and that's okay; it's part of their job) denies the existence of this prison, which seems to be running on the tired principles of sleep deprivation and individual humiliation that have now become hallmark for how the US treats prisoners of war. The alleged abuses (which have been documented before by the BBC, but I somehow missed that) occurred well after Obama issued his benighted angels-from-on-high executive order Ensuring Lawful Interrogations, which was supposed to put an end to these kind of antics and bring the Shining Beacon back in line with (yeah, I remember it fondly) international law and (golly, almost forgot about those!) the various treaties we have signed over the years (like the Geneva Convention for starters, and the UN Convention against Torture). Plus, of course, well, uh: US law.

After I quit screaming my head off in first utter disbelief and then utter disgust, I started wondering why I needed the BBC to tell me that. The organization which is now pushing this story is based in New York, so it isn't, I presume, that they only talked to the Beeb. And it's not like, you know, you need complicated Internetzmaneuvers to get your hands on the original document. It's also not like well-known human rights organizations have not taken this up. Amnesty International tries to save the day by simply assuming a benign forgetfulness on our part, or perhaps 't is that we here in the good ole' US of A have kinda lost our appetite for self-examination. Ah! Good ole' US of A! Tired of the discourse, eh? The story first broke in April; now, in October, the DoD is still saying they're gonna look into it, you know, when they got, maybe, like, some time on their hands? Attention to this story in the media down here, including the lefty political blogs I so love to waste time on? Zero. (More interested in Aqua Buddha and whether some Latinos under the right light might look Asian after all, and let's bet that by the time you read this you've already forgotten what the heck I'm talking about.)

Well, we can now at least cast aside the notion that Obama was an innocent bystander dragged into a war he was going to make all better once he fully understood it.

Also -- where the fuck are my sisters and brethren in, just to name one, the literary world (except for you, Nick, darling) with your electrifying prose when this nation could need a nice artistically executed kick in the gonads*? Right: Too busy writing white-folk family sagas, or else too caught up in the romantic occult to see the real vampires we're all in bed with.

So, inevitably, stupidly, maddingly: So it goes.

But need it go so?

Fuck the power; sharpen the fangs?

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* I have absolutely NOTHING against a nice mixed metaphor.

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