A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Sadists who torture, and those who command them

Fred Clark has a provocative article, Dirty work, that makes an interesting point about people who do the ‘dirty work’ of torture, such as our American agents who engage in tortuous activities such as waterboarding. First, he notes that these people, at the end of the day, must enjoy their work, and thus are worthy of being called sadists, sociopaths, sexual perverts or worse. (This reminds me of Miss Hardcastle in Lewis’s That Hideous Strength).

But he also notes that their superiors have to either wretchedly compartmentalize their beliefs and actions, or actually share in the sadistic pleasures of torture–and he names names, and makes suggestions.

Because we have (theoretically) a military under elected, civilian control, I must note that the final supervisors of U.S. torturers are the people of the U.S.–that is, Fred Clark, you, me.


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