Further confirmation that not watching television is good for my mental health.
When I hear of another religiously-inspired violent attack, my first thought is how many of these things we are going to have to have before we start to question the hypothesis that Bronze Age religions that imagine such a tribalistic ghost-in-chief can continue to exist side-by-side with the rest of us in a prosperous, secular, peaceful civilization.
My second thought is how anyone for whatever reason could get it into their head that murdering a lot of innocent people is something their imagined god could want.
My third thought is how this is going to play into the hands of the nativist, xenophobic morons who cannot do basic arithmetic (so do not understand that 26 or 29 or even 300 in a very bad day doesn't begin to approach the NRA-inspired background violence those same fascists make possible).
So when I read that the first thought on American newscasters' minds is whether we should torture more, I just really have to ask myself what planet these people are living on.
Let's not forget that there are dozens of these mass casualty attacks in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, countries that are far less squeamish about torture than we are. If torture worked, the government we installed in Baghdad should be presiding over the most peaceful country on the planet (spoiler alert: it's not).
And even if torture were effective at getting information from people, is this really an information flow problem or something far deeper? Isn't the problem not that people could do something this awful but that they actually want to do it and every now and then actually execute it? Shouldn't we be examining the whole radicalization pipeline from the pus-filled, gaping wound we left in Iraq (a country that never had a single suicide bombing until we invaded) to the hemorrhaging in neighboring Syria from the decade-long civil war our invasion of Iraq triggered to our abject failure as a society to counter the nihilistic End Times nonsense of Mediterranean Monotheists of all three flavors?
Until and unless we admit that our paradigm is fundamentally broken, that a foreign policy based on violence and breaking things will always lead to blow back, and torturing people doesn't make them or their relatives all that willing to work with you, then expect more of the same.
In a particularly disgusting back-and-forth, both anchors quizzed Trump on whether or not he would torture Salah Abdeslam, the alleged ringleader of the Paris attacks who was captured by Belgian authorities a few days ago.
“What would you say would be appropriate in terms of what they can do to him at this moment to get any information that they can about possible further attacks?” Lauer asked. “When you say do whatever they have to do, can you be specific?” Guthrie followed up. She then bluntly asked him if he thought that torture worked. Trump, unsurprisingly, said that he did.
Nowhere in this conversation was there any suggestion that torture is an obscenity, that the very fact that two of the most high-profile journalists in the United States were speaking so casually with the likely Republican presidential nominee about torture on national television was symbolic of America’s moral degradation.
"The "Today" show talked to Trump & Clinton about the Brussels attack, and lived down to our expectations."