Sunday, July 17, 2005

Washington Post deputy foreign editor Pamela Constable wrote a fantastic column, "Torture's Echoes," a clear warning to never lose the vigilance needed for a democratic society to survive, in the face of the record of abuse and torture that has led from the 'coercive interrogation techniques' we've visited upon suspected terrorists throughout the world, from which we are prone to shy away and ignore. The more controversial methods are not only counterproductive ("... studies have shown that building trust and dependence is a far more reliable way to break resistance" and thus extract valuable, 'actionable' information from the people we capture than what "produces desperate lies," so-called 'torture lite') and show potential allies for our fight against terrorism an ugly side of ourselves, but, if we are not careful, may threaten the very principles upon which our Republic was founded.

Constable's focus is Chile. On September 11, 1973, we gave direct support for a coup in the country that installed General Pinochet as ruler, thus beginning a reign of terror that brutalized Chilean society as 'enemies' were summarily executed, or disappeared. But she is care not "to push the analogy too far," of course. However, the point driven home is that it can happen anywhere. But we are blessed with the democratic institutions to voice our dissent toward policies that will end up harming us, not granting us safety from those who wish us ill. Constable quotes a Chilean politican as lamenting that they had "'all failed as a society.'" I plead for us all to not let that be our fate.

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