Maybe this will come to us as a DVD movie --
Bestselling novelist Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler's thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.
HuffPoCo: Barry Eisler: Torture Tales:
“HuffPoCo: Barry Eisler: Fear, With Good Reason:There are a number of factors behind America's growing embrace of torture, but among them, largely overlooked, is a brilliant campaign of cross-promotion between right-wing ideologues and right-wing entertainment....”
First, the right reduced the entirety of torture to a simple talking point: "Can you really say torture never works?" And then answered the question through thriller novels and television shows.
There's a reason Glenn Beck so assiduously hawks what he calls the "conservative porn" of novelist Vince Flynn. When Flynn's series character, covert operator Mitch Rapp, saves the day through torture, his deeds vindicate the authoritarian worldview Beck advocates. Beck even has a list of his top ten thrillers at Borders, with Flynn and another rightist thriller writer, Brad Thor, in the top two slots. Nor is Beck alone: he is joined in his promotion of pro-torture novels by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Hugh Hewitt. And of course the right loves no one so much as Jack Bauer, the "24" operative whose defense of America always depends on torture -- a love the show returns in kind.
All of which raises an important question: why? Given that expert interrogators like the Air Force's Matthew Alexander and Steven Kleinman and the FBI's Ali Soufan and Jack Cloonan agree not only that torture is unnecessary, but that, by producing false leads and creating new jihadists, it has made America less safe; given the existence of scientific evidence demonstrating why and how torture produces false information; and given that there is no reliable evidence that America's resort to torture foiled any jihadist plots, we have to ask, why does the right continue to promote it?
“Last week, Dahlia Lithwick had a terrific piece in Slate in which she ponders America's "Terrorism Derangement Syndrome." America does seem to be in the grip of morbid fear, doesn't it? KSM could irradiate Manhattan if he's given a trial there... terrorists can melt the walls of supermax prisons... the Underwear Bomber is so diabolically clever he would laugh off traditional interrogation methods. With all this terror, you might even think... I don't know, that terrorism is working pretty well....”
Lithwick attributes some of the cause of TDS to Republican fear-mongering and to Democratic acquiescence in GOP scare tactics. I agree -- but I think there's something more fundamental going on, something that explains both the fear and the fear-mongering.
Something like... our own policies.
I believe some deep-seated part of our national consciousness is aware there will be consequences for what we've done, and continue to do. The wars, and kidnappings, and illegal imprisonment, and off-the-mark Predator strikes, and, most of all, torture -- we sense a reckoning for all this, a conflagration waiting to engulf the combustible materials we insist on piling recklessly, relentlessly higher. Our tactics worsen the danger. The worse the danger, the more scared we get. The more scared we get, the less capable we are of rational policies. As our rationality deserts us, we embrace more tightly primitive tactics. And the more primitive we become, the worse we make the danger. And so on.
And follow the man on twitter ... bless his soul.