January 23, 2006


The following is a list of the entries in my series, "On Torture," written in December 2005, together with a brief description of the content of the individual parts of this extended essay:

I, State Violence and Brutality, and Totalitarianism: A discussion of the manner in which torture is an integral and necessary part of the apparatus of any totalitarian police state, relying in significant part on Hannah Arendt's immensely important writing.

II, Of Means and Ends: An analysis of the fundamental contradiction that fatally undercuts the opposition of a writer like Andrew Sullivan to the use or approval of torture: why it is not possible to continue to support the goals of our foreign policy -- which necessitate the imposition, by means of military force, of our form of government on cultures and societies that have no history, traditions or intellectual roots to sustain the specific political forms we have adopted -- while decrying the inevitably implied and necessary means of achieving those ends.

III, Brutality and Sadism as National Policy, and the Monsters of Our Time: An examination of how torture has become a central and systematic element of the Bush administration's policies in the prosecution of its erroneously conceived "War on Terror," and why the administration has unforgivably and perhaps fatally branded the United States as a barbarian nation.

IV, Becoming Monsters, and Ensuring Our Ultimate Defeat: A discussion of articles by Darius Rejali and Mark Danner, explaining why torture does not work, how the official governmental adoption of torture eventually destroys any society, and further analyzing how the horrifying damage resulting from the use of torture expands in all directions, corrupting everyone in its wake.

V, A Monster's Confession, and the Choice to be Human: A dissection of the "defense" of torture offered by Charles Krauthammer (a "defense" widely heralded by many hawks), explaining the numerous dishonesties and contradictions engaged in by Krauthammer, and his profound immorality.

Addendum--More From the Annals of Horror: Some excerpts from a recent article about the horrific torture inflicted on one prisoner, and the utterly meaningless "confession" ultimately coerced by such barbaric methods.

VI(A), The Truth that Lies Within, and the Truth that Many Will Not Face: The first part of an analysis of the ultimate failure of Andrew Sullivan's answer to Krauthammer, including an identification of certain crucial questions that are ignored by both writers -- and an explanation of how both Krauthammer and Sullivan reveal psychologies dominated, above all else, by the demand for obedience. (In the near future, I will offer a lengthier examination of that last point.)

VI(B), The Truth that Lies Within, and the Truth that Many Will Not Face: The conclusion of my explanation of the vast chasm that separates Sullivan's approach to this subject from mine, and a consideration of the ultimate roots of torture and violence in the numerous cruelties inflicted on children by the majority of parents, relying on the work of Alice Miller.

With regard to this last issue, a related piece is also critical: When the Demons Come. That essay discusses certain tragically common barbarities in child rearing (such as "hot saucing" and the methods championed by James Dobson), the psychological dynamics instilled by such means -- including most notably obedience and denial -- and how those dynamics lead to atrocities committed by adults.