Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shocking the Shockers: A report from Scott Horton's blog, No Comment

From Scott Horton's blog, No Comment, A Tale of Three Lawyers:
Diaz resolved to do something about it. He knew the Supreme Court twice ruled the Guantánamo regime, which he was under orders to uphold, was unlawful. In the Hamdan decision, the Court went a step further. In powerful and extraordinary words, Justice Kennedy reminded the Administration that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions was binding upon them, and that a violation could constitute a criminal act. One senior member of the Bush legal team, informed of the decision over lunch, was reported to have turned “white as a sheet” and to have immediately excused himself. For the following months, Bush Administration lawyers entered into a frenzied discussion of how to protect themselves from criminal prosecution.

Sounds like the Shock Doctrine suddenly hit the guy where he lives.

That's an obvious psychophysiological response, right? I think it's the type of response the Shock Doctrine is intended to induce on whole nations at a time. More efficient that way. Can't go around, torturing everyone individually.

For example, let's pick an Iraqi-Canadian to single out for public torture. On Canetti's principle, that should induce a lot of shock for the buck.

It is the first death which infects everyone with the feeling of being threatened. It is impossible to over assess the role played by the first dead man in the kindling of wars. Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim. It need not be anyone of particular importance, and can even be someone unknown. Nothing matters except his death; and it must be believed that the enemy is responsible for this. Every possible cause of his death is suppressed except one: his membership in the group to which one belongs oneself.

Elias Canetti, Masse und Macht vol. 1, p. 152 (1960)(S.H. transl.)

(Emphasis added.)

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