Torture Du Jour

Gina Haspel, a career CIA officer is currently undergoing her Senate intelligence hearing, having been nominated by Small Hands to become the CIA’s chief. Like all of Mr.Apprentice’s appointees, this one has serious baggage that needs to be rummaged through during the hearing process. The most alarming bit of what the fuck is this doing in your bag?, is her having been the supervisor of the CIA’s counter terrorism center in Thailand post 9-11. You may recall: rendition, detention and interrogation, which was made known during our military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as means of getting prisoners to, well, tell whatever they knew that might be deemed useful to our side. Supposedly to keep we the people back home safe. Water boarding was one documented form of, hey, let’s call it what it was, okay? Yes. Torture. Torture?! Are we (our government, in this case) barbarians? Torture? You know, supposedly too abhorrent a descent into cold-blooded brutality behind closed doors.

Water boarding proceeds as so: cover the prisoner’s face with a cloth or towel, tie him down to–a board–and pour water onto his face. The sensation (so I have read) is akin to a drowning. Hey, war is hell, right?  And that hell doesn’t stop upon capture or surrender. Apparently. Just ask Senator John McCain, who spent over five years in a North Vietnam POW camp, where he was tortured. He opposes Haspel’s candidacy to lead the CIA, having stated “Ms.Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture as immorality is disqualifying”. And McCain is a Republican. His politics are a mixed bag, but on this topic his credibility is off the charts.

So, “enhanced interrogation” (akin to George Orwell’s glossary of dystopian terms in his novel 1984) in current Homeland Security lingo. Water, water everywhere, and far too much to think. Until the watering stops long enough to ask for desired responses. Hmmm. Perhaps one would say anything to prevent another dousing. Ya think?

Then there’s electricity. Again, as torture. High voltage, low current and a picana, used to shock the prisoner. Often water–again the water–is thrown over the victim to reduce the electrical resistance of the skin and to increase the effects of the shock. Zap! What, still not ready to fess up? Then clip the electrodes to said prisoner’s genitals and zap! ZAP! Feel like talking now? We can stay here and do this all night, asshole!

Oh, there’s more nasty means of getting desired info from a prisoners, even if he likely doesn’t really know sophisticated enemy attack plans. Here is what the captured “enemy combatant” likely believes as default information: he is fighting for Allah against the Great Satan, with Osama Bin still serving as motivation. But it is torture making him produce even the flimsiest valued insight. The United Nations labels torture as “inhumane and degrading”.  For whatever that is worth (apparently not much).

Now back to Haspel’s candidacy and her obvious link to the documented torture of prisoners. Red flags, as usual, as far as the qualifications for another potential Cabinet member, The committee judging her worthiness does have some naysayers, a few Democrats prodding her about admitting torture is immoral. She spun rambling, dissembling, responses to that simple yes or no question numerous times, like Ginger Rogers cutting up a dance floor freestyle. Blah blah blah, my moral compass is blah blah blah. My parents raised me right blah blah blah. Listening to her refuse to answer that basic question in which she knew there absolutely was one clearly correct response was a felony case of tortured pretzel illogic.

So, okay. She shouldn’t get the job. But she will. She’ll get confirmed. Again, what’s to derail her confirmation? Remember, the impotent Democrats have NO MEANS TO STOP IT.  Call the vote. Confirm and be done with it. There aren’t enough senators from either party with a spine to derail President Twit’s cynical, counter-intuitive choices that are not only suspect, but in many cases akin to the proverbial fox being put in charge of the hen-house.  Need I remind any free thinkers who runs the cabinet agencies right now? A parade of a shady neo-con shills like Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court, only after his nomination having been stolen from President Obama by the GOP controlled congress. Betsy De Vos? Scott Pruitt? Jeff Sessions? Confirmed in spite of being unqualified. Hey, it’s what Trumpty Dumpty GOP-ers do these days. What they don’t do is govern. Well, they do, but not for you nor I.

I really can’t bring myself to indulge in much more consternation about the disastrous night of November 8, 2016 . For the voters who gave Ms.Clinton the popular count victory (and don’t even start with it’s Bernie’s fault!) and true “progressives” the daily news is no news at all. It’s like a sickening loop of dreadful sitcom TV. Or worse it’s reality TV from the West Wing. It’s Archie Bunker, President. To me it’s now all a form of drip, drip, drip torture, a dull, achy kind that frames day-to-day life, inducing the gag response when logic and reason are no longer part of the discourse. Critical thinking may as well be magical thinking. Up is down. Wrong is right. Unacceptable is acceptable. Immoral is moral. Losing is winning.

I do try not to think about what passes for analysis, opinion, or “news” regarding any particulars of this fucked up, viral-like freaky fever dream, really. This blog posting comes courtesy of what’s left of my indignation in the face of the farce that is 2018, America. However, it’s actually been downhill for decades. Almost 40 years of electing cads, creeps, scoundrels, bait-and-switchers, puppets and assorted empty suits.

Composing this was a bit tortuous. Hey, suffering builds character, no? Not sure about that, but writing this blog still works as therapy, in a way. Blow off some steam. Wait for deliverance. Patience. Like waiting for that Godot guy.

Maybe November 6, 2018 he’ll at least be sighted coming around the bend…









About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to Torture Du Jour

  1. Julie Samuels says:

    And it’s therapy to hear it all so well expressed and to know I am not alone – in unity there is strength


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