Treason of the Intellectuals
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A couple of weeks ago the reality TV show "Fear Factor" had a special sleep deprivation episode in which contestants vied against each other by eating maggots, swimming in tanks filled with eels, etc. but only after not having slept for 36 hours. One wonders if imperialist mouthpiece Michael Ignatieff might have been watching this show around the time he was preparing the NY Times Magazine article that ran yesterday. As part of a defense of the bipartisan "war on terror", he defended draconian policies, including the judicious use of torture:
"…we need a presidential order or Congressional legislation that defines exactly what constitutes acceptable degrees of coercive interrogation. Here we are deep into lesser-evil territory. Permissible duress might include forms of sleep deprivation that do not result in lasting harm to mental or physical health, together with disinformation and disorientation (like keeping prisoners in hoods) that would produce stress."
Although nothing could possibly embarrass this Harvard professor and "human rights" expert, who is exactly the kind of faculty member that belongs at an institution run by the atrocious "Let Africans Eat Pollution" Lawrence Summers, this is about as close as you can come. Keep in mind that fellow Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has already recommended torture to extract information from suspected terrorists. Of course, given the standards of the post-9/11 legal system, it seems doubtful that anybody would pay attention to the sort of niceties proffered by Ignatieff.
Despite his assurances that sleep deprivation is no big
thing, people outside the imperialist pimping circuit are generally aware that
this is *torture*. Just look at the governments that have used it. It was used
by the Japanese army during WWII against POW's, just as it was used in Stalin's
gulags. It is completely understandable, given the accelerating decline of
American civilization, that Michael Ignatieff would
feel an affinity for such practices. According to Human Rights Watch, an outfit that ostensibly overlaps with Ignatieff's
own at Harvard, the countries that use sleep deprivation are uniformly
It is clear that Ignatieff draws the line at permanent damage. In other words, if sleep deprivation does not lead to psychosis or other serious long-term psychological damage, what's the big deal? You can very easily understand what happens next in this line of reasoning. Wouldn't it make sense to extract information from terrorist suspects through beatings or electric shock just as long as there is no permanent physical injury? Okay, you might want to draw the line at cutting off somebody's ear, but what's wrong with hooking up somebody's testicles to a car battery as long as the juice is not kept on for very long. Sort of like a "Fear Factor" stunt on steroids.
The moral and intellectual decay of American and Western European intellectuals over the past couple of decades will deserve scrutiny by scholars of future generations. Just as we try to understand what made Martin Heidegger an obedient stooge of the Hitler regime, others will try to figure out what makes a Harvard "liberal" pimp for torture. Surely as we do today, they will draw inspiration from words such as these:
Imagine an observer of
the twelfth century taking a bird's-eye view of the
Julien Benda, "The Treason of the Intellectuals"