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Sometimes I question whether there is the possibility of change, here. The CIA has started openly torturing people - they have no doubt been covertly torturing people for years; we've been showing this in our fiction for decades, and this is probably largely the public's view of how the CIA is - unsavory characters who do the "dirty work" that needs to get done to keep us safe.

Why do we accept this notion of torture as a heroic virtue, when it's obviously not? I think we're unable to assimilate the alternative - that our national myths are all false, that we are subject to an evil torture state, that our security apparatus is beyond democratic control or the rule of law. All of these are horrific, monstrous possibilities that we can't confront, so it's much easier for us to rationalize them away by suggesting that the CIA's actions are not, actually, evil.

Determining otherwise requires an act of national catharsis, a revolution in our understanding of ourselves as a political entity. We are not safe, good, democratic. We are venal, aggressive, evil. Making this confrontation will take more than just a factual understanding.




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