Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reflection, not retribution

Obama on his position of impunity for torturers: “This is a time for reflection, not retribution”; “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” Because the torturers tortured in, you know, good faith. Good-faith torturing. So that’s okay, then.

Well-paid, adult men in our government spent their days sending memos back and forth to each other about whether and how to exploit a prisoner’s fear of insects.

And making up new words for their acts of violence against prisoners: Walling: to slam a detainee into a wall. “A detainee may be walled one time (one impact with the wall) to make a point, or twenty to thirty times consecutively when the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question.” To make a point! More significant response!

NYT: “Mr. Ahmadinejad warned Wednesday that Washington should adopt a respectful tone toward Iran. ‘The Iranian nation might forget the past and start a new era,’ he said, in a reference to Iran’s accusations that the United States has meddled in its affairs in the past.”

Accusations? Is there some question about CIA involvement in the 1953 coup against Iran’s democratic government? It’s not exactly a he said, she said, is it now?

Middle East envoy George Mitchell, in Jerusalem today, said that the US goal is “a two-state solution which will have a Palestinian state living in peace alongside the Jewish state of Israel.” What exactly is the American definition of a “Jewish state”? Will Palestinians be allowed to live in it without converting? Will non-Jews have any rights?

Sigh. Now Clement Freud has died.

Here’s a 6-minute audio clip from a 2006 episode of Just a Minute, on which he performed for more than 40 years, with Freud, Tim Rice, Stephen Fry, and Paul Merton speaking on “How to be irresistible to women”:

Sadly, I was unable to find any of his famous 1960s dog food commercials (with a basset he curiously resembled) on YouTube. The Times quotes some of his columns for the paper. (Update): Like me, the Guardian has been trawling YouTube for his appearances on Just a Minute and elsewhere, and put up a dozen or so here.

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