It's already happening, no? The Senate Intelligence committee's report on the CIA's post-9/11 interrogation techniques, known colloquially as "torture," is in the fast fade from our news cycle and from our outrage churner. It's become like that hot fuck one torrid night on a Mexican vacation, when the tequila and ecstasy flowed and you went back to your timeshare with one of the local dudes and balled your brains out, in the rush, the hurlyburly and hustle of the three hours left between leaving the bar and the cruel light of dawn. Ah, that was something you did, you can say later, and then go on with your life. If it left you with a case of herpes, well, shit, people live with that all the time, don't they? At least it ain't the HIV. Where's the beach?
So it seems it will be with the torture report, something that stays with us the rest of our days, incurable, occasionally surfacing, but tolerated. Already, the media have moved on, to the CRomnibus, the Sony email leak, the floods in California. There will be more Eric Garner and Michael Brown protests, so we're not so brain-damaged that we can't have memory of something for more than a week or two. The Tamir Rice shooting is coming into sharper focus, too. And there's all that Christmas shopping to be done.
The Rude Pundit has never had any illusions. He never thought that any prosecutions or even arrests would happen. He never thought there would be a reckoning of any sort. Oh, sure, he hoped we might spend more than a few days pointing fingers. But we are a nation that simply doesn't like to look in the mirror. And if no one is there to hold our heads and point them straight ahead, then we are happy to glance and then gaze away, into the unknown, always blindly optimistic about the future.
Before we move on, though, the Rude Pundit wants to deal with a couple last things and then we can go back to snarkily saying, "Rectal infusion" and giggling, ignoring the whole ass rape part of the act.
Conservatives and current and former members of the intelligence community promised, swore up and down, that the release of the torture report would cause violence and protests against the United States. The White House was even worried. Except, of course, it hasn't. As Joshua Keating says in Slate, it seems like the extremists in the Muslim world are more upset about degradation of their faith, like pissing on Korans or making a shitty film about Mohammed, than they are about the treatment of a few score individuals. Or maybe it's just the lack of photos this time or a sad shrug that this is all shit they knew about.
Either way, why the fuck would it matter what the reaction would be? When the people supporting the cops defend the officer who killed Eric Garner, they say that Garner should have just allowed himself to be arrested. It's his fault that violence happened. If he didn't want something bad to happen to him, he shouldn't have done something wrong in the first place. Well, fuck, doesn't that also go for torture? The time to worry about what the Muslim world - if not the entire rest of the globe - thought about us is before you start torturing. Once you've done it, aren't you kind of just asking for it? The Rude Pundit doesn't want there to be any violence against Americans, but, Jesus, stop behaving as if we're so fucking special that, even when we do evil shit, we should not be viewed as an enemy. When did we start giving a fuck about the possible damage we might be doing? The number of civilian deaths doesn't stop us from firing drone missiles.
We're Americans, goddamnit. We act without expecting there to be any consequences because fuck you. George W. Bush called the torturers "patriots." Who are you to argue?
The torture supporters defend themselves by saying that they had to do whatever it takes to protect the United States after 9/11. They say that Americans - and especially Congress and the President- wanted our intelligence agents to go brutal if they had to, especially in "the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11." It was a "ticking bomb" scenario, they say. But did it keep ticking for five years?
Others talk about how scared Americans were. The Rude Pundit was a thinking adult on September 11, 2001. He talked to lots of thinking adults. We were gung-ho for getting the fuckers who were behind the attacks. But mostly we were just sad about how fucked up the world had become, and he remembers specific conversations with people about how we hoped the United States wouldn't act like assholes. As soon as the invasion of Afghanistan occurred (and not a small force just to get bin Laden), along with the opening of the prison at Gitmo, the Rude Pundit knew we were gonna be total dicks.
We tortured because we're big enough to be bullies without fear of real recriminations. We also tortured because we're cowards who demonstrated quite plainly that all that shit about freedom is readily cast aside when we feel even a bit threatened. We're forgetting about it now because we're also really good at pretending, a family that sweeps it all under a rug so lumpy that you have to walk around it to get across the room.