Thursday, December 11, 2014

gonna be a long walk home

So the torture report is out, just about as bad as it could be. As any competent intelligence analyst could and did say, we know three things for sure about torture:
1. “Torture is a difficult and deceptive thing for the strong will resist and the weak will say anything to end the pain."
Ulpian, AD 200.
2. as a consequence of 1, most information extracted from the tortured is false. Since all this information will have to be verified again using standard intelligence procedures, the information is worse than useless.
3. as a consequence of 2, we conclude:
"the object of torture is torture."
Orwell, 1984.
Talk about your un-American activities..
The strong do what they can, the weak suffer what they must. 
"We translated our ignorance, our anxiety, our guilt, into their pain."
"In our own cities, the suspect is no longer a citizen but a rightless subject."

Bruce Springsteen, 2007 -
our flag flying
over the courthouse
Means certain things are set in stone.
Who we are, what we'll do and what we won't.
It's gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home.

Neil Young, in 1987 -
If Liberty was a little girl
Watching all the flags unfurl
Standing at the big parade
How would she like us now?
America, America
Where have we gone?
It's such a long walk home

Update 2020: Charlie Stross points us to,

Torture prevalent and portrayed as effective in popular movies, study finds. 60% of popular films (n=200), including those for children, have at least one torture scene, and the scenes are usually depicted as achieving the torturer’s goal.
“I did not appreciate how prevalent torture was actually going to be,” Delehanty said. “The thing that shook me and what led to the title of our research – ‘Wait, There’s Torture in Zootopia?: Examining the Prevalence of Torture in Popular Movies’ – was how many kids movies have torture scenes in them.”