So how does brutality and inhumanity come to ingrain itself in a supposedly civilized western nation? It begins slowly and then increases gradually over time until, one day, a line has been crossed and a culture has been fatally poisoned with sin and corruption. What was once considered impossibly bizarre now passes for the every day.
Think of what has happened to the American moral compass in the short space of one decade.
In the days following 9/11, then vice president Dick Cheney announced that in the name of “fighting terrorism” we would be working on the “dark side”. Now here we are, after ten long, shameful years of illegal detentions, torture, murder, rendition of innocents to torture cells in Syria and Egypt we have not just worked Cheney’s “dark side”, we have become the “dark side”.
The recent gutting of the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments (at least) of the Bill of Rights by a bipartisan gang of congressional traitors who pushed through the “homeland battlefield justice” sections of the National Defense Authorization Act, which was then signed into law New Year’s Eve by the Traitor in Chief Barack Obama, has made it official: we have become what we supposedly were fighting against.
So what happens when a nation smothers legal decency? How does evil ascend to ultimate rule of a society?
The following is a small taste from the bestseller “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin” by Erik Larson. The book is the story of American ambassador to Germany William E. Dodd who was posted to Berlin, along with his wife and two adult children, in the final days of Germany’s headlong plunge into fascist insanity.
Rudolf Diels, commander of the Gestapo, Hitler’s feared domestic intelligence and police force, became an intimate friend, and for a brief time lover, of the ambassador’s reckless daughter Martha, who was slow to appreciate the true nature of the “garden beasts” she was socializing with.
The following is a revealing passage about how easily a society loses its way:
“In a conversation with a British embassy official that occurred at about this time, quoted in a memorandum later filed with the foreign office in London, Diels delivered a monologue on his own moral unease: “The infliction of physical punishment is not every man’s job, and naturally we were only too glad to recruit men who were prepared to show no squeamishness at their task. Unfortunately, we knew nothing about the Freudian side of the business, and it was only after a number of instances of unnecessary flogging and meaningless cruelty that I tumbled to the fact that my organization had been attracting all the sadists in Germany and Austria without my knowledge for some time past. It had also been attracting unconscious sadists, i.e. men who did not know themselves that they had sadist leanings until they took part in a flogging. And finally it had actually been creating sadists. For it seems that corporal chastisement ultimately arouses sadistic leanings in apparently normal men and women. Freud might explain it.” (pp. 251-252)
Who can read that passage and fail to see the parallels to what happened among American service members who participated in and institutionalized sadistic treatment, torture and even murder at the Abu Ghraib Prison outside Baghdad or the prison at the American Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or the dirty secret CIA “black” sites scattered among the old Soviet Union client states or Guantanamo.
Citizens who fail to grasp what is happening and especially those who do but choose to remain silent are those who enable the institutionalization of brutality. While ignorance and silence may provide a flimsy shield for awhile, history shows governmental brutality is always, eventually, turned on the very citizens who made it possible,
Once a society – or the leaders of a society – give the okay to abandon the rule of law and the moral decency of civilization a great beast is set loose. In time, as has happened in every fascist society from Italy to Spain to Germany to Argentina to Columbia, the beast supposedly programmed to only attack the “other” eventually turns on the society that released it.
To be sure, there is an ugly karmic wind being stirred now in America.
Think It Can’t Happen Here? It Already Has – and Is…
- For information on Cheney’s infamous “dark side” quote link to: http://afpakwar.com/blog/archives/576
- Karzai demands control of Bagram prison: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/483de9d8-37f2-11e1-a5e0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1ik2VicNc
- Photos of the American Prison at Bagram Air Force Base: https://www.google.com/search?q=bagram+prison&hl=en&prmd=imvnsu&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=_cIHT8nYOsWvgweH0f2JAg&ved=0CF4QsAQ&biw=1024&bih=567
- Photos of American Actions at Abu Ghraib: https://www.google.com/search?q=bagram+prison&hl=en&prmd=imvnsu&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=_cIHT8nYOsWvgweH0f2JAg&ved=0CF4QsAQ&biw=1024&bih=567#hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=abu+ghraib&oq=abu&aq=2&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=175828l179906l0l183406l11l8l0l0l0l2l375l1860l0.2.2.3l8l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=738cd55335a3cf23&biw=1024&bih=567
- Images from U.S. Prison at Guantanamo and Related Actions: https://www.google.com/search?q=bagram+prison&hl=en&prmd=imvnsu&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=_cIHT8nYOsWvgweH0f2JAg&ved=0CF4QsAQ&biw=1024&bih=567#hl=en&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=guantanamo+bay+torture&oq=Guanta&aq=5&aqi=g10&aql=&gs_sm=c&gs_upl=238422l247281l0l254375l20l13l0l0l0l0l391l2253l0.1.3.4l9l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=738cd55335a3cf23&biw=1024&bih=567