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1984 Redux

April 23rd, 2009

For the last few weeks I’ve cringed when I came across Glenn Greenwald’s column in Salon. I really didn’t want to read about any of Obama’s failures, and GG does go on about his failure to call for a thorough investigation of the torture practices of the Bush administration. I knew he was right, but I just didn’t want to hear about it, good liberal that I am.

But the latest release of memos really got to me.

The one about the close-confinement of the arachnophobic prisoner with spiders — up to the number of insects with which he might be confined — was especially sickening beyond sickening to me, a phobic.

Ever read Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four? The prisoner is taken to the infamous Room 101, where he is pesented with the thing which he fears most. For Winton Smith, the protagonist of 1984, the object of terror is rats. He is to be confined to face a cage full of rats in his face.

Nineteen Eighty-Four has long been presented as the epitome of totalitarianism, and the depths to which it might sink.

The government of the United States of America has now been shown to have sunk to a similar depth. No, even greater depths; Winton’s toturers didn’t pretend the were followintglegal orders.

Nice to have literature validate my own repulsion at these tactics. I’d rather not, rather this had been a bad dream, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. We need to wake up and see the scum,

We need to see it all.

And it may be that a special prosecutor, and legal presentation to a grand jury, is not the best way to reveal the full extent of these evils, because evidence presented to a grand jury is kept secret at least until, and often beyond, indictment. Maybe the Truth Commission of Barney Frank is the best way to go?

I don’t know. But something’s got to release the poison from within the body politic.

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