September 25, 2006

don't let me do that again

I always know that watching Bill Maher is a difficult task. Depending on the panel, it can be either good or horrible. This one was actually just disturbing (though illuminating). Sandy Rios was the conservative and she was amazing. By amazing, I mean unbelievable. She said that all of Al Qaeda's leadership had been killed (to be fair, perhaps this was before the NIE leak that suggested that terrorism has exploded because of the Iraq war) which is partially true, but not really the point. If they have 4 or 5 people joining terrorist organizations for everyone we kill, well, you do the math.

Worse, I think, was her stance on torture. Rios, as it turns out, was the president of Concerned Women for America, so came on the show as a Christian and Fox contributor. When pressed on torture, she agreed it was bad, but simply said that it was not torture! In other words, she reiterated the Bush administration's point that if they survive the encounter, then it can't be torture.

Unbelievable. At one point Maher, who is an atheist, actually rubbed his eyes in disbelief as he noted the problem of Christians supporting torture. She stood by it--insisting that we had to do it to save american lives and that it wasn't torture, it was "coercion." She told the story of a child molester in Germany that was tortured to find a kidnapped child, but the information came too late. Message, it is ok, as long as we get what we want.

It is one of my great concerns. Christians have so lost their moral compass voting for this President that they now justify torture and see no problem with it. (I asked my SBC critic if it was his stance that we didn't do things like waterboarding, or that he thought that waterboarding was not torture To date, I have not received an answer. I am afraid that Rios put the argument forward. As long as organ failure or death does not occur, the Conservative Christian leaders of America think "whatever works.")

Bradley Whitefield kept saying that Iraq had lost 130,000 civilians since we invaded. Maher noted that the UN thinks that torture is more rampant than when Saddam was in power. Rios thinks that we are on the right track. She even said that the 130,000 civilians were exactly who we were trying to save from Saddam's non-existent nuclear (sorry, nukular) weapons.

Wrap your mind around that one. We disrupt a country, cause (mostly indirectly) over 100,000 deaths, but say that we were justified because we were trying to save lives.



Monk-in-Training said...

This is exactly why I say that this President is the least Christian in a generation, if not since the founding of the Republic.

Some One else I know told me to watch the fruit of those who say they are holy, and we will know them by that fruit.

ubub said...

So, would you say that this was like torture or is that term only reserved for more gruesome practices like listening to your kids' Red Hot Chili Peppers cd?

ubub said...

Good point, M-I-T. From the perspective of the produce aisle, this is, as Billie said, some strange fruit.

Cold In Laramie said...


I know I mentioned this to you in passing the other day regarding torture, but I thought I would expand on my idea. I find it interesting that some of the same words/terms applied to the war on terrorism are the same ones applied to American Indians, specifically in the 19th century: they live in social organizations called "tribes," are barbarians/savages (this comes from truly unenlightened people that I have unfortunately contact with), and generally lack "civilization" (after all, the terrorists hate us because of "our" freedom and democracy). The result - both in the 19th century and now - is to dehumanize the target. Thus, people on the right can condone and rewrite definitions of torture (or other actions) because those involved in the war on terror are not considered humans - they are irrational barbarians. Waterboarding is not problematic because they are not human. Wiping out entire villages is not problematic because they are not human.

This posting is not as clear as I would like, but I think it can help us clarify some of the debate.

ubub said...

CIL's point is an important one. Robert Drinnon examined this in his book, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building. He traces this phenomenon from the wars on the plains through to Vietnam.

Because 'they' are not human, 'they' are collateral damage. Because 'they' are not human, their deaths are simply 'unfortunate.' etc etc etc etc etc etc etc

Streak said...

I agree, it is an important and even critical point. For all the talk that "everything changed after 9-11" we have been here before.. Not only, as CIL and UBUB note, with Indians--with a long legacy of dehumanizing others to the point that then Governor William Henry Harrison noted that killing Indians was thought to be a good moral act (paraphrase). In California's gold rush, killing Indians was sport.

And that isn't all. Read some literature on the WW2 approach to the Japanese, and you will discover many of the same arguments and sentiments. Fast forward to the Cold War, and once again, you are in similar territory.