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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
March 01, 2006
The Pentagon Archipelago
Please read this by Chris Floyd. It's about an excerpt from a new book by Moazzam Begg, a British citizen who was imprisoned for three years in Afghanistan and Guantanamo:
When I read the passage below from Moazzam Begg's account of his years in Bush's Terror War prisons, I had a strange feeling of dislocation: it was as if 30 years had suddenly fallen away and I was back in high school, reading Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago in stunned disbelief at the hideous cruelty inflicted on the prisoners -- deliberately, as a carefully calculated instrument of state policy. And all of it done in the name of national security, of course, to protect the nation against "terrorists" and "traitors."
Floyd of course doesn't claim we're as bad as Stalin's Russia, but instead that we've got to stop ourselves before we take any more steps on this path:
It's no longer a matter of what crimes Americans will swallow; now the great question of the day is: what won't they swallow? They've walked this far down the road of darkness -- how much farther will they go? Will we one day need a Solzhenitsyn to catalogue our shame, our cruelty and our cowardice?
After you've read Floyd's take, the Guardian also has an article about Moazzam Begg. And then there's Begg's account itself. Here's what he writes about the mindset of his interrogators, who'd convinced themselves he was a terrorist mastermind:
It would have been funny if it hadn't been so terrifying, being in the power of these people who actually believed their own fantasies.
Begg learned about it in a particularly concrete way, but that one sentence sums up life on earth today for everyone. I may have to make it the motto of this website.Posted at March 1, 2006 04:46 PM | TrackBack