‘Debate’ About Torture

I’m not particularly happy with the idea of Brennan as the head of the CIA – but then again, I’m not particularly OK with the CIA in the first place.  Anyways, there’s also a problem with the idiotic rhetoric of ‘opening a debate‘ about the use of torture.  I definiately don’t take issue with debates – I’m pleased with the defeat of a challenge to NYU’s Coke ban in a debate, to cite the most recent example – but I’m fairly sure that any ‘national debate’ about torture will look nothing like a productive discussion about torture, or state violence.  The terms of the debate will be left up entirely to people like Brennan – not only will he choose what people talk about, but also the forum in which they do it, and the terms in which it is described.  The cacaphony of a truely national debate will be reduced to the talking points of a hoarde of ‘national security experts’ and other apologists for the exercise of US military power.

Here’s the point: I don’t think debate is a problem, but in the narrow, imagistic environment that constitutes public discourse, the idea of a ‘debate’ all too often only serves as a fig-leaf to media campaigns meant to justify some pretty fucked up stuff, and I’m not buying it.


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