Sunday, May 15, 2005

Going Down

I don’t know whether Newsweek’s story about interrogators at Gitmo flushing the Koran down the toilet was true or false, though my guess is that the story was essentially correct and that its government source has simply recanted under pressure. A great many former prisoners have reported similar outrages. Why we should credit members of this administration over these victims is unclear to me. If the Secretary of State can insist that we didn’t ask for the Iraqi War (“This war came to us”), if senators like McCain can deny the plain message of the recently revealed British memo (“I do not believe that the Bush administration decided that they would set up a scenario that gave us the rationale for going into Iraq.”), if the military justice system can put the blame for Abu Greib on a handful of noncoms, it’s pretty clear that both the administration and its legions of enablers are deeply into the Big Lie.

As befits this new age of faith, all of this has a theological explanation. What you have to understand is that there are really two Purgatories, the one Dante wrote about where venal sins are purged in preparation for eternal bliss and the other purgatory where falling souls, still hampered by residual decency, undergo basic training for full-blown Hell. America is currently on the down escalator, but we’ve got a ways to go. Which is why Conservatives still bother with excuses. We aren’t torturing anybody. We aren’t torturing anybody without extreme need. We aren’t torturing anybody too much. Good people aren’t evil just because they do evil things. We can quit anytime. Torture is manly and admirable.

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