Abstract: How the new boss is in danger of getting worse than the old boss.

There is something worse than having a country practice torture. What is worse is when a country normalizes torture. What Obama and company are saying, in fact, is that torture is not prosecuted in the USA.

This statement is creating a legal precedent, and even worse, a new social contract for the USA. The United States of America does not just torture, it justifies the torturers, and sees no ground for their prosecution.

Then Obama can say: “we, the USA, do not torture”. But look at what the USA does. Talk is cheap, and most of the time, of no consequence. Acts are definitive.

Forgiving all and any torturers on the outset, on the ground that it happened before, is a definitive act.

Obama always says that he looks forward, not backwards. Why was he a lawyer then? Do not lawyers have to look at acts and facts sometimes? Do not acts and facts happen in the past? And only in the past? Do not lawyers have to argue about what the acts and facts really were, before giving advice or passing judgment? I mean real lawyers, those who practice law, not just pontificate for mesmerized students.

Dear Obama, everything that happened, happened before. Learn. Nothing that happened, happened tomorrow. Learn. We only move forward because we have identified, examined and learned the mistakes we did in the past.

In the USA, the fact is, looking forward, from now on, thanks to dear Obama’s position that the past divides us, that if government officials use torture, other government officials will come and justify the torturers. Such is the new social norm. As determined by Obama, the lawyer who does not learn from the past. Learn. That is what the examined life means. Learn.

When a French general revealed, 45 years later, that he had taken part, as a general, in torture in Algeria, and justified it, he was punished by the French State (although in theory there was legal prescription).

France knows there are lines not to be crossed, formally speaking. To forgive, forget, and refuse to examine yesterday’s torturers is not normal speech. First it is action, by refusing to help the victims, past and future. And it is also hate speech against the victims, past and future. It is even hate speech against our civilization.

Al Qaeda will be happy to learn that Obama justifies torture. Something for the Taliban to meditate too, as they make American soldiers prisoners. (As the case of the Algerian war showed, torture can work for the torturers; not for civilization, though. See addendum.)

Republican, democratic Germany prosecuted the Nazi torturers. All and any of them that could it could detect, suspect, and find. Why? Because liberated Germany had become, and it is, a republic, and a democracy. Germany was not a torturing racist plutocracy anymore. It was not anymore the United Sadists of the Apocalypse. No more of this sort of USA.

Some deluded people in Germany tried State sadism and torture before, after they seized electoral power with propaganda tricks, claiming they were from the left, even “socialist” and “nationalist”. But all those NAtional-soZIalists, those Nazis, were servants of an international plutocracy, most of which was based in the USA (and gave the Nazis their weapons and Wall Street financed military-industrial complex).

The Nazis, inspired by demented variants of Nietzsche and Darwin, proceeded to find reasons why civilization, as heretofore understood, was quaint. They did away with lots of it, most of it secretly, though, because their rule was based on consent, not terror (see the book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” for reference on this; the Gestapo had very very few officers inside Germany). Consent rested on ignorance, but was a delicate thing. The Nazis knew that the Germans would not have tolerated the reestablishment of official Middle Ages methods.

Thus, even those Nazis never came out as that creep who teaches law at University of California, Berkeley, came out, under Bush. The creep wrote an official USA memo justifying torture. That creep said that torture was good. No Nazi ever dare sink that low. It has been left to the USA to sink that low.

For years that anti civilizational creep was left to teach and pontificate, a respected alternative to reality.

Just as Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf”, this is the first act, the first warning, the first submission of the theory to the people: torturers are ‘cool’. Don’t be alarmed.

The plutocracy taught us that greed was good. Now its obsequious servants are teaching us that torture is “cool”. Well, it may be cool, but it’s not tolerated in our civilization, or in international law. Like Nazi Germany, the USA is free to exit both, and we are free to oppose the USA. We will see who wins. We already know where morality won. We also know that the right ethics is most of the battle.

U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama’s decision not to prosecute officials who practiced torture professionally on terrorism suspects amounts to a breach of international law, the U.N. rapporteur on torture said. “The United States, like all other states that are part of the U.N. convention against torture, is committed to conducting criminal investigations of torture and to bringing all persons against whom there is sound evidence to court,” U.N. special rapporteur Manfred Nowak told the Austrian daily Der Standard.

At least the USA will not be able to come around and claim that nobody told them they went criminally insane. Because, simply put, that is what is going on.
Patrice Ayme


Addendum: In Algeria, the FLN (Front National de Liberation) used torture against French civilians, and recommended to use it against small French children. Although the French army had won the war militarily, and although the Algerians had voted massively in favor of the new constitution that was uniting France and Algeria as a big democracy, everybody was disgusted, and the government in Paris suddenly just quitted, and gave the keys of the country to the FLN, without further elections. There had been so much bad blood, due to the usage of torture on both sides, that civilization got so damaged, that both societies were left in partial moral ruin to this day. Subsequent civil wars in Algeria (two and counting) killed hundreds of thousands of people, and the millions of Algerians and their descendants who found themselves on the other side of the Mediterranean from Algiers, were long treated with undeserved hostility by the French natives, no doubt in part to justify the bad outcome.

So it’s a choice; torture and thrive the torturers, or examine what happened, examine and condemn the details of how one got there in the first place, to save civilization. Only a judicial, and civilizational inquiry can do this.



  1. Jeff McG Says:


    “…Forgiving all and any torturers on the outset, on the ground that it happened before, is a definitive act….”

    That isn’t what they said of late. Obama said that the ones who carried out orders to do the alleged tortures would not be prosecuted because they believed that what they were doing was within the law. He and Hillary Clinton also said that the decisions made by the ones who said it was legal to do the alleged tortures would be reviewed.

    On the other hand you say “…Obama’s position that the past divides us…”. I believe Obama recognized at the outset of his presidency that the problems he must solve as president are so great that he cannot succeed without bipartisan support. He cannot then give advantage to one political side against the other or his ability to get bipartisan support for his policies will be at risk. This is something most politicians have great difficulty to accomplish after they promise it in campaign speeches. Obama is doing a better job than most at it. He is tiptoeing through a minefield in the sense that there were so many things sanctioned by the Bush admin. that can be questioned ethically and legally. As soon as it appears to the people on the other side of the political aisle that this is happening – that the focus of Obama’s admin. is mainly on prosecuting the alleged misdeeds of Bush and his appointees, there will be no more bipartisanship. Obama does not think he has much of a chance of carrying out the reforms he has in mind if this occurs. He is probably right in this.

    On the other hand you are correct that torture should not be sanctioned for the sake of expediency and by means of inventing legal justifications that ignore international law. The greater problem you are addressing is that the Bush admin. did many things by unilateralism instead of seeking the slower and more difficult path of getting consensus on a solution from the international community. Bush and his pols considered the United Nations a joke and did not pay the UN as many other U.S; presidents have done. That the U.S. gov’t does not agree with and support all policies of the UN is fact, however unidealistic some may find it. This does not justify torture nor other policies formulated to deliberately circumvent international law. Bush’s successor must deal with what he wrought. Obama realistically does not want his administration to get preoccupied with prosecuting problems of the Bush years when he has an failing economy on the front burner.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Jeff, I agree with many of your points of views.

      But I differ on an important point. Obama may have “a failing economy on the front burner”, indeed. But the law, in a State of Law, as we have in Western Civilization is ALWAYS more important than the economy. Now, there is no contradiction: let the State enforce the law, let Obama do his economy. According to supposed independence of justice from politicians, Obama should, precisely, leave the law alone.

      Obama changed his position on torture within24 hours of my blast being published. I do understand, and may even agree with his position that CIA operatives under orders should not be prosecuted, especially in light of the war against the Qur’an and its base (“qaeda”). I would recommend, though, that an internal review be done inside the CIA, at the very least, to punish those who have exceeded orders, if any.

      Now, clearly, a vast inquiry should be done. That inquiry is extremely important, and none of Obama’s business. Obama presides the republic, he is not the republic, he has not replaced the republic. Justice is supposed to be independent of the executive. Obama is mandated by the Constitution to stay out of it. If, and when, Bush is condemned to 20 years of hard time, then, and only then, after all reviews have been exhausted, including that of the U.S. Supreme Court, Obama should see if a pardon is appropriate. But, probably, that would be after Obama’s second term.



  2. Jeff McG Says:


    Intelligence over stupidity trumps “Good versus evil.”

    Krugman’s remarks ring true. Further, they lead one to reexamine the rhetorical basis of foreign policy whose premise was more ideological than sensible and more wishful than based on fact.

    Evil maybe. Stupid definitely. Simplistically characterizing foreign policy as “Good vs. Evil” may win over of the hearts and minds of those who see the world the way a 2nd grader does after watching Power Rangers cartoons.

    Successful diplomacy however hinges not on creating polarization and thus inciting hostility but instead aims to reduce polarization with an eye toward temporarily creating enough good will so players with vastly different agendas can find something in common with which to coexist more peacefully despite having vastly different cultural norms and economic realities. Intelligent policies carried out pragmatically are what make a government’s sanguine efforts to solve difficult problems bear fruit. Thus, intelligence and not stupidity wins handily over a model of governance that forces policies to conform to a rigid ideological framework.


  3. PK Says:

    The Bush administration put relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

    Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. No evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.

    The use of abusive interrogation — widely considered torture — as part of Bush’s quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them.

    Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.
    There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

    P K.


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