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Hullabaloo


Sunday, April 13, 2008

 
Answering Booman's Serious Question

by tristero

About the admissions that torture was planned at the highest level with the approval of the president:
If you were strategizing a blogswarm to get Congress, the press, and the administration to do something, what would you suggest we focus on? Should we focus on the lack of media coverage? Should we focus on getting a special prosecutor? Should we focus on getting the administration to comply with requests for documents and testimony from congressional committees?
My answer is none of the above, but we should support all these efforts. Instead I think bloggers should focus on the essential issue and constantly remind our readers what it is:

There is no longer the shadow of a doubt that the torture of prisoners was planned at the highest levels of the US government with the explicit knowledge and approval of the president. How do we know this? Bush himself admitted it.

What we also need to do is to remind people exactly what it means to torture, and that torture is profoundly immoral. Furthermore we should make it clear that among the numerous reasons that torture is profoundly immoral is that torture makes societies who torture less safe. Specifically, there is no correlation between torture and accurate, actionable intelligence, despite Bush's lies and the propaganda fed to the American public in shows like "24."

The media will do what it does. If the blogs keep it up, they may notice, they may not, but our readers will. And, if our readers find opportune moments to bring the subject up - say, at a passover meal while pondering the issues of oppression and torture in the passover story itself - the horror and disgust we feel will spread. We will never get an effective special prosecutor as long as Republicans control the Justice Department, and the administration will never release all the documents or testify to the true extent they tortured. But what is doable is to make it clear that Bush, his cronies, and his party which so enthusiastically green-lighted all his torture, have driven the United States into the moral gutter and have thereby greatly weakened the United States' ability to defend itself.

The influence we have may be limited to a kind of word of mouth, given the nearly complete - and hardly unintentional - decision to ignore Bush's public admission of torture planning in the White House. But that word of mouth may influence this election somewhat and help prevent the Party of Torture from holding onto power.

This is my opinion. If the consensus amongst bloggers is that our voices can and should be used to focus on a demand for a special prosecutor, I will support it, of course, and blog about it in my own voice. Ditto the call for doc dumps and testimony. But since Booman asked, I think it's via grassroots word of mouth blogs can most effectively speak out on the unspeakable topic of torture planning at the White House. And there are many ways to address this subject, make it compelling, and sustain our sense of moral outrage.