Your Opinion: Greatest threat to humanity

Dear Editor:

“On the far side of the room, sitting at a table alone, a small, curiously beetle-like man was drinking a cup of coffee, his little eyes darting suspicious glances from side to side. How easy it was, thought Winston, if you did not look about you, to believe that the physical type set up by the Party as an ideal — tall muscular youths and deep-bosomed maidens, blond-haired, vital, sunburnt, carefree -- existed and even predominated. Actually, so far as he could judge, the majority of people in Airstrip One were small, dark, and ill-favored. It was curious how that beetle-like type proliferated in the Ministries ...” George Orwell, “1984.”

Nowadays our president embodies all the heroic qualities we expect to symbolize democracy and American exceptionalism. As with the icons, the propaganda and the heroic statues of the Party in “1984” it’s all a massive lie to be packaged and fed to the somnolent masses.

On the April 29 “60-Minutes” we met one of our party operatives. CIA retiree Jose Rodriguez does not resemble Orwell’s beetleman. With his banal, rat-like physiognomy and his cruel, compassionless eyes, he is nonetheless the quintessential petty functionary who dispassionately carried out the orders of his superiors, Bush and Cheney. Despite the 9/11 moralizing, there is no moral center to Jose Rodriguez, there is only the soul of a mechanical switch.

And what of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the person he waterboarded 183 times? I have gained more admiration for Khalid than I ever had thought possible. What courage and fortitude he exhibited in the face of overwhelming American brutality! Bush even tortured the man’s children — but then you already knew that. Our horrendous torture has amply demonstrated that alQaeda terrorists have the strength and the passionate conviction to resist the worst a morally bankrupt nation can throw at them.

There are no heroes here.

The only reason we continue to torture people is not for information, but for vengeance.

We long ago forfeited the right to expect humane treatment of any of our combatants that fall into insurgent hands. The testimony of Jack Bauer notwithstanding, every real expert on the subject has said that “enhanced interrogation” is not only immoral but ineffective.

One no longer need wonder who the greatest terrorist threat to humanity and to world peace is. In the immortal words of Walt Kelly, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

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