Tuesday, September 19, 2006

arrrtful dialogue

It be National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

That's PI-rate, not PA-rrot, ya lubbers.


Monday, September 18, 2006

more artful yet

and this from Dahlia Lithwick--

I am willing to be persuaded, five years later, that provisions of the Patriot Act really do make us safer. But I am not persuaded by assertion alone.

How can I balance the security benefits of so-called national-security letters, or the subpoena of my library records, if the government refuses to disclose how that information is used and why?

If I am only weighing the curtailment of my civil liberties against the government's bare assertions that such curtailment makes me safer, then there is no real balancing to be done. And if that information is unknowable, am I not just balancing my own subjective sense of freedom against the president's promise that I am safer?

- Dahlia Lithwick

artifice or artfully said

Here's a short movie clip that captures the whole point of the torture debate.

I find it interesting that the pro-torture arguments tend to avoid acknowledging the power of other interrogation methods, labeled "soft" for their reliance on breaking the individual without torture.

I doubt anyone who ever went through a "soft" interrogation would describe the experience as pleasant.

And in this argument it doesn't matter that "soft" interrogation is more reliable. It is glossed over that to the extent that torture can break someone's will much faster, it is at the expense of reliable information. They tell you what they think you want to hear to end the suffering.

The assertions that "what if" we need immediate information to stop a plot are a bit disingenuous.

They whiff of television-drama.

In the real world, interrogation doesn't break up plots just seconds before they happen.

Surveillance, detective work and strong security break up imminent acts.

But then detective work is hardly a wedge issue that can be wordsmithed and spun to cling to a paper-thin margin of legislative control.

Such bad acts, such bad faith should be exposed and derided to its face.