Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hitchens Condemns Photographing the Torture of Prisoners

. . . by Hussein's regime.

I've long enjoyed reading Christopher Hitchens, since among angry, scabrous pundits, he's got to be the most talented writer. He's also long been known for high-lighting human rights abuses around the world, even to the point of writing convincingly about the culpability of Mother Theresa (you read that right).

So it's particularly rewarding to read his condemnation of the Hussein regime's practice of photographing and videotaping the torture of prisoners:
...many countries maintain secret police forces and inflict torture on those who disagree.... [R]elatively few states will take photographs or videos of the gang-rape and torture of a young woman in a cellar and then deposit this evidence on the family's doorstep. This eagerness to go the extra mile, as is manifested in Saddam Hussein's regime, probably requires an extra degree of condemnation. And if we are willing to say, as we are, that the devil is in the details, then it may not be an exaggeration to detect a tincture of evil in the excess. We could have a stab at making a clinical definition and define evil as the surplus value of the psychopathic -- an irrational delight in flouting every customary norm of civilization.
Powerful stuff. Let's hope his indignation is just as ripe for those committing such practices who hail from his new homeland. I'd hate to see him joining the game of "But Not as Bad as Saddam" currently being played by some on the far right.

(Via Atrios and No More Mister Nice Blog)

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