by Alex Symington…
Sociopath is a word I have been employing frequently in chronicling current events. The dictionary defines the sociopath as, “a person whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” There is no shortage of this psychological characteristic in people in positions of power. In fact being sociopathic can play an essential role in attaining that power. Be it in law enforcement, politics, Fortune 500 corporations or the humble run-of-the-mill serial killer. Historically, we as a species have produced some humdingers that are indelibly imprinted on our collective psyche. We all know their names.
As each of these monsters meets their end they seem to be replaced by equally monstrous individuals in the fashion of drug lords or crime bosses. There will always be the ambitious sociopath eagerly waiting in the wings, waiting for their moment in the sun to create pain and suffering and profit by their power. The sociopath is incapable of empathy for his fellows or contrition for wrongs committed. Compassion is the antithesis of the sociopathic.
With the latest revelations of the CIA’s use of torture we witness our home- grown, mom and apple pie crop of sociopaths scrambling for a toe hold in the damage control room. Let the denial begin! However, in true classic sociopathic style our own two-term VP of the USA and long time Washington insider, Richard Bruce Cheney, aka; I’d-do-it-again-in-a-minute-Dick, is doubling, tripling and quadrupling down with an unabashed victory lap around the Sunday news shows in addition to his regular spots on FOX. Personally I would like to see him behind bullet proof glass in a federal penitentiary pontificating and regaling us with his tall tales, but the bigger the criminal the harder to prosecute, ala “too-big-to-fail”. With his almost endearing yet insane brass ballsyness he is refuting the 6,700 page U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on OUR barbaric use of torture. As if to say, “Hey, America, what’s your problem?” OMG! WTF? WTB!? (Where To Begin)
We could start with the most obvious reason of all; it’s morally wrong. We advertise our country as “Great” and democratic and all are equal, but I’m sorry, those adjectives are losing relevance daily. The US should be setting the bar for the rest of the planet to rise to, but Dick and company have destroyed our standing in the global community and set the bar pitifully low. When a US soldier is captured by an enemy now, through no fault of his or her own he or she is fair game for whatever horrors the enemy can inflict upon them. We still don’t behead enemies (that I know of) which is probably our last self-righteous leg to stand on. Stay tuned.
Another excellent reason to not torture people is that torture is not only morally wrong, its efficacy is at best sketchy, but more often than not, the information gleaned is worthless. Reality and common sense tells us most people will do or say anything to stop the pain of torture. Time and again the tortured will tell the torturer whatever the torturer wants to hear. Honestly, wouldn’t you?
Speaking of honesty, those that still regard torture as a fine and dandy legitimate practice should really be honest with themselves and admit they simply want revenge on those that attacked us. Simple, pure hate-filled revenge, I can understand that. I don’t support hate-filled revenge, but I get it. To put this phony patina of respectability on torture is a disingenuous delusion. Take this revenge theme a step further and you might understand why we were attacked in the first place. That thought may cause some shorting out in the circuitry of some.
Of course, Dick has his defenders that feel any type of pain inflicted on the perceived enemy is justified in retaliation for the attack on us. Dick’s mantra was, “by whatever means necessary to safeguard our security”. That would include, but not be limited to, Dick’s “Shadow Government”, answerable to no one, the obliteration of our civil rights and the total disregard for the rule of law, all of which our forefathers, grandfathers and fathers fought and died for. So, tell me Dick, when we remove all things fundamental to the American way of life, what exactly are you safeguarding?
It must be said, Dick did not do this alone. Although he is the loudest cheerleader from hell, he had lots of help. Dick’s administration, uh.., I mean the Bush administration contracted with “psychologists, James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, as architects of the coercive interrogation tactics. The pair had previously been Air Force trainers in a program called SERE (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), which subjected military members to mock interrogations—interrogations that ironically had been used by the Communist Chinese against American servicemen during the Korean War in order to produce false confessions.” This reported in Vanity Fair by Katherine Eban.
Mitchell and Jessen collected a cool 80 million dollars of a 180 million dollar contract. The Bush men cancelled the contract before the entire 180 mill was handed out. Katherine Eban goes on to say, “Neither psychologist had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in counterterrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise. Nonetheless, the psychologists played a role in convincing the administration that if they were allowed to reverse engineer the SERE tactics, they could break down detainees, resulting in useful intelligence.” This psycho-babble was as much fact based as trickle down economics and just one more example of the rampant war profiteering in those heady early days of our war without end.
Before Mitchell and Jessen came along, the CIA had previously come to the informed conclusion that torture was a poor means of obtaining information. Instead of torture, Eban tells us, “the F.B.I. used rapport-building techniques to extract vital intelligence from Abu Zubaydah, one of the first detainees in our war on terror. From a hospital bed in Thailand, he disclosed to F.B.I. interrogators that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was actually the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.”
With all the evidence in the report graphically illustrating the absolute horror and tragic pointlessness of torture carried out by our people, we still are treated to Dick Cheney in all his remorseless, shameless sociopathic glory charging around television studios and growling proudly, “I’d do it again in a minute.” It would not surprise me one bit if things heat up and there is some actual effort to seek justice he will throw those two psychologists under the bus in a heart beat. When you look up the word “sociopath” in the dictionary you will find a picture of Dick.
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