Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In Our Name

Horrifying reports being published this week about torture under the Bush Administration: how torture came to be used, who approved it, etc. You can forget former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's claims late last year that it was "unfounded rumor" that he had anything to do with this: he approved the use of torture his very own self.
Paul Krugman commented earlier this week that the people who approved and carried out the torture are monsters. I don't know that I agree with that; ordinary people are completely capable of monstrous behavior while having the most normal lives.

In any event, I hope these people are investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I don't want torture and abuse committed by or for the United States. Torture is just plain wrong, not to mention being an ineffective means of interrogation.


rootlesscosmo said...

I also recommend Mark Danner's article "The Red Cross Torture Report: What it Means,' in the April 30 NY Review of Books.

And though Krugman is a smart guy and a powerful ally on the side of economic fairness, I agree about the careless use of "monsters." As Stanley Milgram's obedience studies showed more than forty years ago, crimes against humanity are less often committed by monsters, who are fairly easy to identify and render harmless, than by ordinary people who let themselves be drawn into monstrous acts by monstrous systems.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yep. I was thinking of Ardent's "The Banality of Evil" rather than Milgram, but yeah.