Friday, February 15, 2008

Torture and Democracy

I cannot recommend strongly enough Scott Horton's interview with Darius Rejali, an Iranian expatriate whose recently released book Torture and Democracy emphasizes uncomfortable truths that most Americans prefer not to face.

These include:

- Liberal democracies torture.

- Torture techniques always come home from wars "over there."

- Focusing just on waterboarding is a distraction.

- Two-track systems, in which one agency is allowed to torture and others are not, or in which it's allowable to torture some categories of people but not others, invariably spread the rot throughout the society:

...[T]orture just doesn’t hide in a vault in the CIA. It hides in all the dark pockets of society -- military barracks, schools, frat houses, our supermax prisons and immigration lockups.
And much more. Read the whole interview, and then read the book.



At 1:47 AM, February 17, 2008, Blogger hapa said...

once upon a time darius and i, with friends, chased crayfish in a spring-fed pool and discussed the merits of community and democracy in relation to keeping interrogation methods under control. there's something about redwoods that makes one want to discuss horrible things; i did it again today.

At 4:10 PM, February 18, 2008, Blogger Nell said...

An intriguing image, hapa, thanks for that.

Was I correct in describing Darius as an expatriate? I haven't looked up his background, and realized that he could well have been born here.

At 5:36 PM, February 18, 2008, Blogger hapa said...

i didn't know until you asked but it looks somewhat complicated. iranian-bornwith american and iranian grandparents.

At 12:12 AM, February 19, 2008, Blogger eRobin said...

I've been agreeing with this argument forever. I've even been saying that I'm grateful to be having the torture debate since we're always loved torture and at least now we're dragging it partway into the sunshine.

At 2:05 PM, February 29, 2008, Anonymous Catherine Morgan said...

I wanted you to know, that I nominated you for Women's Voices Making History. Your blog is on my list of over 300 women blogging about politics, and I am currently going through it, and nominating blogs that I think are most worthy. Anyone can nominate a blogger, so if you have others you would like to nominate, all you have to do is go to the site at Women's Voices, Women Vote. :-)



At 1:48 AM, April 27, 2008, Blogger Nell said...

Update: Leafing through my alumni magazine tonight, I find that Darius Rejali graduated seven years after me.

His Torture and Democracy is included in the magazine's regular feature of books by graduates.


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