By C. Antonio Romero
SAN FRANCISCO, 24 APRIL 2009 - Ad
absurdum, ad nauseam, the right wing blathers on
about how torture is not torture, and how, even if it is, and
even if we did, "America does not torture."
Today, though, they reach a new low, as Fox News blowhard Sean
Hannity offers himself up as a sort of sacrificial reptile,
agreeing to be waterboarded for charity-specifically, to raise
money "for the troops' families."
The immediate temptation, for me and I'm sure for many others,
is to take him up on it-indeed, to launch a campaign on
Facebook, tap into the vast left-wing conspiracy that got
President Obama elected, raise millions over the Internet, even
sell spots in line on eBay to ensure Hannity will be
half-drowned six times a day until the money runs out.
But of course, that points out the precise problem with this
idea. It seems like it would feel so good to half-drown this
nasty bastard, or to contribute in some small way, or even just
to nod approvingly on learning that someone had done it.
Anyone who would line up to waterboard Sean Hannity would be
doing it because:
- They believe waterboarding is torture (if it's not, why
- They believe payback is reason enough to torture (Hannity
doesn't have a true word in him).
So to join in on a crusade to waterboard this man-to spread the
call, to donate, to do the dirty work, to be an avid
spectator-is to pollute one's own hands and soul, to re-enact
the very crime at the heart of the debate.
To be sure, none of us Americans are perfect people. But we
have defined ourselves, from the start, through our striving to
be ever more perfect. And this American struggle demands hard
things of us, as individuals and as a nation:
- that we learn to gaze without flinching at our nature,
however flawed, and our deeds, however ugly;
- that we speak the truth, to ourselves, our friends and even
our enemies, about the errors into which we have led
- that we be mindful every day of our imperfections, and
choose each day to do what is right, for our own sakes;
- that we accept our share of shame for doing what is easy,
and take no special pride in doing what is hard.
So what, then, must we do? Abandon our baser impulses, ask
ourselves what justice is, and hesitate when we have a
And, perhaps, give, anonymously, a dollar for each minute we
savored the image of a man bound, pinned to the ground, a rag
stuffed in his mouth, retching and gasping, water poured into
him until his humanity is washed down the sewer, and ours with
However stupid, violent or bestial a man may be, we must not
sink ourselves to his level, to satisfy ourselves or even save
One apt charity would be the Disabled Veterans
of America Charitable Service Trust. Highly
Charity Navigator, the Trust supports
physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, meets the
special needs of veterans with specific disabilities - such
as amputation and blindness - and aids and shelters homeless
veterans. You can donate
online at the Trust's Web site to help veterans
and their families.
C. Antonio Romero is the Nouveau and Technology editor
of Culturekiosque.com. He last wrote Brzezinski
Spells it Out to Joe Scarborough.
All titles are chosen by the editors as being of interest to
Botero: Abu Ghraib
by David Ebony
Paperback, 112 pages, 95
Prestel, New York, 2006
US $ 35.00
GB £ 19.99
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