Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Torture {Not}

To no one's surprise, the Intelligence Science Board, a high-voltage panel convened to advise intelligence agencies on interrogation practices, has concluded that the torture ['harsh techniques] used by the Bushites are good only for injuring people and violating international law. To my consternation but no longer my surprise, we are just now seeing the report, Educing Information, Interrogation: Science and Art, that was completed in December 2006--and for this look behind the scene we owe thanks to the reporting of Steve Shane and Mark Mazetti of the New York Times. It is reprehensible that such a panel should even exist, so wrong and repugnant is torture, but it is good that such a group after studying the history of torture and interrogation, after reviewing the available scientific literature, and after commissioning its own studies can conclude according to Shane and Mazetti and my own quick review, which I admit is hardly enough to form a final judgment, that torture--not a word they use--doesn't work and is in most regards counterproductive. Wrapped in the stilted prose of academics working for the Defnse Intelligence Agency and telling their minders and bill payers what they doubtless don't want to hear is a comprehensive critique of the Bushites' interrogation techniques, beginning with those history lessons and proceeding through a 'cost benefit analysis,' on to behavioral and biological science. The report is a compilation of papers, rather than a coherent narrative, but in aggregate it raises the only questions policy makers should be asking themselves--how do we get rid of the people who have brought us to this state and happily continue to muck around in the blood and gore of innocent people.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Which Side Are You ON

We have seen the story so often from Iraq that only someone who has not been reading the news or chose to be ignorant these past, what, four years would consider Michael Kamber's piece on the impossibility of knowing your enemy in today's New York Times new. The story is an important reminder, to be sure, of the absurdity of a war in which the enemy frequently wears the uniform of the Iraqi Army--our putative ally--or serves in the puppet government we preserve and maintain at considerable cost in blood and treasure, but it's as new as the obligatory story from every new reporter in the Paris bureau about dog shit on the sidewalks of that wonderful city, which is to say stale. The Iraq story is more lethal, though, and more depressing, because the war continues in defiance of the will of people everywhere, including here. To paraphrase Pogo, we have met the enema, and he are our leaders, Bush and Cheney.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

how to contact--updated

I have posted some comments left in reference to an op-ed I wrote for The New York Times, May 6, on small dogs, because Ii have noothere way to respond to the people, and I think it rude not to do so. Primarily, I want to say thank you, and to add, in response to Meg, that the Pekingese was apparent in the Chinese imperial court by the first millennium A.D., and the Colima culture of Central Mexico had a small hairless dog around 250 B.C. that was used for food but also a trade object and bed warmer for people with rheumatism . It may have been a pet as well. Breeding being imperfect, hairless dogs were sometimes created with the help of resin and tar, while Pekingese were bound from the time they were small puppies in wire cages.

Original Post
For obvious reasons, I don't publish my e-mail address, but your comments do come to me. If you want a direct response, however, please include your e-mail address in the body of your comment. I will respond to you and also block publication of your note and, thus, your e-mail address. I'm sorry to be so convoluted, but thus is the world in which we find ourselves--violence rampant.