Wednesday, 02 July 2008

Reverse Torture Porn (X-posted over the Edge of the American West.) I challenge anyone currently being critical of Wesley Clark to disprove his point on its face. I don't want to hear anything about Clark's own military record or Barack Obama's lack of one.* I want you to list the specific executive qualities cultivated by twenty-three bombing missions and five years in a POW camp. Yes, I'll hold. Zoom zap a do do walla do dop diddly do dum dum dum dap da dap da doom— Hi, I was waiting to—yes, I'll hold. Do do do doop da da dap dop dop diddly do dapa dapa dapa dap zoom a zoom— Hello? No, I don't want to be transferred to—yes, I'll hold. Bam bam biddly bam dop dop bam oof oof zoom zoom boom a dam dam dam— I don't need to speak to your supervisor thank you very much. But I would like an answer. Because you know what I think? Your addiction to torture porn has become so all-consuming it now encompasses its opposite: reverse torture porn. For almost six years, you've drifted off to sleep play-acting Jack Bauer. A dark foreigner planted a ticking bomb in a Major American City and only you can discover its location before millions die. You tumesce at first thought of the necessary force this mission requires. Which method will you use? You weigh the pros and cons of all the law allows, but the bomb is ticking, so you consider those it forbids. You delight in cataloging the sadistic acts the situation necessitates. Your decision made, you apply the screws, water, electricity, heat, cold, Manilow, &c. You save America. You are a hero. Men want to be you, women to be with you. You fall asleep. But just as legal coercion lost its luster, so too have the techniques implemented outside the law. You can do no more harm to these imagined bodies without imagining yourself a murderer, so you shift from the torturer to the tortured. Where before the tortured man made war upon America, in John McCain, mind and body are broken in its service. Your heart swells with pride when you consider his sacrifice. Your beloved car battery acquires menace, as the means by which you once saved America nightly becomes the means by which they would have you betray it. You are now addicted to reverse torture porn, and John McCain is your enabler. You are incapable of thinking about politics outside a primal scene of human suffering. You shape your policy in rooms whose walls perspire, on improvised furniture carelessly shat on a bloodstained concrete floor, and you ignore the damnable hypocrisy of it all.** Whatever McCain learned in a hole like this qualifies him to lead the free world. We teach terrorists something different. What exactly? I don't know. You don't either. But it's categorically different than what McCain learned, whatever that was; and whatever that was, it is now a quality desired in a President; and because...
I read conservative blogs so you don’t have to (UPDATE: See below for details.) I write a post about reverse torture porn and not a day later we learn Christopher Hitchens waterboarded himself. Coincidence? Of course it is. But we can use the conservative commentary on Hitchens to test my, um, pornographic thesis. We begin, as you do, with Michelle Malkin: I can see agreeing to waterboarding for an article like the one Hitchens was writing. I believe Mrs. Sade and Sacher-Masoch could weigh in here, but I’ll skip the overtly randy stuff in favor of the more substantial material produced by her commenters. To wit: The question will always be, and there really is no avoiding it until we develop a true mind-reading technology: is our moral revulsion against torture justified that when weighed against the possible number of deaths we can avoid by using it, we will always argue against its use? [...] But what if the object in question we are seeking is a nuclear bomb hidden in our city? Suddenly we are on the receiving end of the blast and the calculus changes drastically. You can’t lead those horses into these waters any faster. See? The enemy believes that we are weak, & Hitchens & his ilk are to blame. It will come to a point, & soon me thinks, when real force will be required. And then it shall come to pass that the unpleasant realities of preemption need to be replaced with the even more unpleasant realities of vengeance […] & the Hitchens of the world will cease to be relevant. You have to love the Old Testament rhetoric of what is, really, Frank Castle fury. This commenter wants the day to come to pass when on thee and thou with His flesh-hooks rains carbuncle distemper and harrows everyone who has ever disagreed with him ever. The only way to prevent — if that’s your bag, which clearly it isn’t some people’s — this disaster? Torture fantasies: [T]hose photos may have showed what looked to be electrodes […] no current was passed through, nor is there any evidence of same [...] and I don’t care if appearances are shocking to the “sensitive” eyes of the all caring [liberals]. How many times has he rehearsed this bit? Stripping down the prisoner, rudely affixing the electrodes to his genitals, coyly fiddling the switch, &c. How are we not in the realm of fantasy when people affirm, on the basis of a picture, whether a current has ever passed through wires? (Short of “still in the plastic,” I mean.) But I’m meant to connect these apocalyptic fantasies and the sexualized means of their avoidance to John McCain, aren’t I? As luck would have it, someone beat me to the punch: Debating that waterboarding is torture, when we have seen the depravity and cruelty displayed by our enemy, is just plain stupidity. Waterboarding, as a means of extracting vital information regarding our security is not torture, it is a means to an end and that means, whilst...

Become a Fan

Recent Comments