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Torture Fatigue

April 27, 2009

If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you’ve noticed an almost daily mention of torture. It’s an issue that Americans are at once enthralled and repulsed by. It is a topic that demands exposure and is important enough that the media has rightly devoted significant resources to. But, at the same time, it can be wearying, all this focus on such a troubling topic. And it can have the consequence of desensitizing us to the real and terrible truth of what was done in faraway dark places in our name. In Slate, Dalia Lithwick discusses the impact the torture story is having on us. An excerpt:

[A]fter Abu Ghraib, America seems to have lost its capacity to be truly shocked by anything America might do. As chilling and brutal as the images were at the time, they have, in the years between, lost much of their power to repel us. They have become—abetted by endless viewings of Jack Bauer on 24 and an interminable national debate about torture—emblems of what America is at least willing to consider doing. They are no longer postcards from the unthinkable. They are what we have become.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. john permalink
    April 27, 2009 6:03 pm

    I actually think the reality is not nearly as troubling as it is made out to be. Which isn’t to say what was done is okay, just that the average Westerner has been out of touch with true Evil for almost a century now. Which is why people can earnestly compare George W. Bush to Hitler. I guess that is a good thing, but it also means we tend to exaggerate every moral transgression into the apocalypse.

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