Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Continuing the Conversation

In a discussion regarding the recent revelation of new Abu Gharib pictures, my TMV co-blogger Justin Gardner opines the following:
Listen, I'm not saying that these pictures won't hurt us. They will. But let's rip the bandaid off in one fell swoop. Because now we face a reality where every six months a few more pictures and a few more videos make their way into the public eye, and we'll have to keep talking about it over and over and over and over and over again.

Might I humbly submit that we should continue talking about these abuses until we see some real accountability for the perpetrators, the superiors who authorized the tactics, and a real commitment from the Bush administration to categorically stop using torture as a policy (signing the McCain Amendment, then giving a "signing statement" that eviscerates the intent of the bill doesn't count)? Until all that happens, I think Abu Gharib should stay in the news, and I don't lament that it might get more lead time in our media institutions. Machiavelli argued that the sovereign should do get all the bad things he has to do out of the way at once, because the people's memories are short and they're more likely to forgive one large aggression over a litany of minor aggravations. That may be good strategy, but I think this administration is Machiavellian enough for me already.

Alas, I have far less faith than Gardner that these pictures will be enough to make us pay any more attention to Abu Gharib than we already have(n't). We, as a people, desperately want to ignore this issue. We want to pretend it doesn't happen. And unless there is a constant media blitz forcing Americans to come to terms with our torture policy, we'll continue to ignore it. One day of additional coverage isn't enough. And I think that's all we're going to get before we lapse into our regular state of apathy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's an important discussion, but any arguments are blunted when the pictures are dribbling out in this way. We aren't progressing towards understanding because this isn't _new_ news, just new ways of telling the old news.

What happens is we end up with viscious partisans on the left saying something along the lines of "this administration continues to torture. . . " while the partisans on the right can say "We've been over this! Come back with something new."

Your co-blogger is right, just put it all out there, have the discussion, that way it will result in an understanding, or at the very least, it will remove any argument as to why there isn't a discussion.