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Torture Fatigue

excerpts from a report by Silja J.A. Talvi. June 29, 2005

"The Christian in me says it's wrong," Army Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr. said of torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "But the corrections officer in me says I love to make a grown man piss himself."

An acquaintance recently admitted how much he enjoyed watching the torture scenes in the new blockbuster, Sin City. "I know it's strange," he said, "but there's something I get out of seeing torture and violence like that on the screen. It's like it's some kind of release."

He is not alone. Slate's David Edelstein enthused that the film boasted "the most relentless display of torture and sadism I've encountered in a mainstream movie. My reaction to Sin City is easily stated. I loved it. Sin City is like a must-have coffee-table book for your interior torture chamber."

Could it be that Americans are subconsciously trying to stay sane by desensitizing themselves and finding cathartic release in endless media depictions of torture and brutality? The U.S. military death toll now nears 2,000 men and women, in addition to the countless thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis who have died. Who among us truly wants to face the emotional impact of what we've done?

Real healing and emotional catharsis would actually require genuine discomfort, discourse and reparation. It would necessitate an admission of our collective culpability for the emotional and physical damage inflicted by our government, whether on the streets of Baghdad, or in the interrogation rooms of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay.

Without such reflection, we're headed for our own true-to-life Sin City, a veritable carnival of bloodsport, torture and misery for all.

You have been reading excerpts from "Torture Fatigue" by Silja J.A. Talvi. You can read the entire piece here: informationclearinghouse.info/article9351.htm. Thanks to InformationClearinghouse.info. We visit often and we hope you will too.

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