Ktismatics

9 May 2011

The Dream Made Exterior

Filed under: Fiction, Psychology — ktismatics @ 7:48 am

So that you won’t believe I write in order to publish, or even to make art. I write because writing is the end, the supreme refinement, the temporally illogical refinement, of my cultivation of moods. If I take up one of my sensations and pull it apart until with its threads I can weave it into the interior reality I call the Forest of Alienation or the Voyage Never Taken, believe me, I do it not so that my prose sounds lucid and tremulous, or even so that I enjoy myself with the prose — although I do want that too, I add that final refinement too, like a beautiful curtain closing on my dreamed stage sets — but in order to give complete exteriority to what is internal, so that I can in that way realize what cannot be realized, conjoin the contradictory, and with the dream made exterior, give it its maximum power of pure dream, stagnator of life that I am, engraver of inexactitudes, sick page of my Queen soul, reading to it at dusk not the poems that in the book open on my knees, on my Life, but the poems I make up as I go along, pretending that I read them, and she pretending to hear, while the Afternoon out there, I don’t know how or where, sweetens above this metaphor erected within me in Absolute Reality the tenuous and final light of a mysterious spiritual day.

– Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), The Book of Disquiet

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13 Comments »

  1. “and with the dream made exterior, give it its maximum power of pure dream,”

    So he says.

    “stagnator of life that I am, engraver of inexactitudes, sick page of my Queen soul,”

    That’s closer, and the ‘inexactitudes’ are the reason why he exteriorizes the dream with a less than maximal power. It doesn’t matter whether he’s writing fiction or about himself, I think. But surely he is writing about himself, because who could write about such a fictional character; the real one is dreadful enough.

    ‘reading to it at dusk not the poems that in the book open on my knees, on my Life, but the poems I make up as I go along, pretending that I read them, and she pretending to hear, while the Afternoon out there, I don’t know how or where, sweetens above this metaphor erected within me in Absolute Reality the tenuous and final light of a mysterious spiritual day.”

    Ah oui! si mysterieuse, si spirituelle. Really gross shit, sort of like Keats crossed with George Sand’s disapproval and maybe Saddam Hussein. Definitely worse than Henry David Thoreau, which I didn’t know was possible.

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    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 9 May 2011 @ 11:20 am

  2. I was pretty sure you wouldn’t like this. I’ve read only a bit of the poetry for which Pessoa attained lasting literary acclaim, and the poems too give expression to this same passive ineffectual schizoid dysthymic anhedonic disembodied dreaminess. The version of me that writes Prop O’Gandhi is drawn to this sort of thing. “The dream made exterior,” decoupled from Pessoa’s stagnant faiblesse and his mood organ, is what I’m trying to approach in the next book, deviating from the more-or-less realism in character and story of the preceding book. In parallel to Pessoa I’ve been reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, which is an ode to the hollow men if ever there was one. No wonder I woke up at 2 in the morning realizing with horror that “this is all bullshit” — by which I meant simultaneously the writing I’ve been doing and the OOO and Extended Mind theories. In full wakefulness I retain this dismissal for the philosophies, which strike me as other people’s exteriorized dreams that I’ve now visited too many times. I feel like I should get hold of something more robust as a tonic — maybe Bellow’s Augie March, which I’ve never read.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 9 May 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    • Aha, yes. Bellow is always tonic. We read ‘Seize the Day’ when I was a freshman with this pedestrian teacher, but I was still very impressed. I read it a few years ago again, and it’s still devastating, the cruelty of the father and true suffering of the failed son. Also his last novel ‘Ravelstein’, from which he read in, I think, 2002, at YMHA. He claims he believes that after death ‘you still get to see those pictures’. I liked this attitude. Martin Amis says he’s the most European of American writers.

      Yes, you should become as degenerate as I am, who don’t even click into PE anymore, they’re still writing the Egypt thread as though OBL was a mere ripple. I told Jack last night that I was disgusted that I am now only interested in either reading every new nook and cranny about ISI or CIA, or even worse, last night I even got google earth going on Yvonne Vickers’s house on Westwanda Avenue in Benedict Canyon and studied it all for 2 hours. In case you didn’t see it, she was an early Playboy Bunny whose ass was nicely shown in a 1959 issue, such that even Hef was afraid to show it at first. Then 10 days ago, her mummified 82-year-old body was found by a neighbor, actress Susan Savage, and she’d been dead for about a year, having cut away all her friends (although there’s a picture on People’s site from 2007 at an event.) Then I got even more fascinated that you could look up the worth of the houses, including hers, which hadn’t been recorded since 1980, when the entire property was worth only $50,000. That means it was in really grotesque shape already if it was that cheap in that area. Very sad story, had extreme Raymond Chandler quality–more than any specific place I ever saw in my trips to LA. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0767386/ That’s the TV actress who found Vickers, and you can see the story under ‘I News Article’, although it was written up in LA Times, WaPo and NYT. It really is straight out of Chandler or Ross MacDonald, and Savage even said the phone was ringing when she looked through broken doors and windows. But the Google Earth wouldn’t reveal much about the hovel, which was, however, by far the most worthless of the 8 or 9 houses on Westwanda. I was surprised I was so drawn to the story, though, as it’s not exactly the Abottabad Compound with the hilarious TV self-watching with the remote and the stocking cap.

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      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 9 May 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  3. After al-Qaeda’s attacks I thought that if only the CIA and other covert-ops units weren’t so politicized and inept they would be a far more appropriate counter-measure than having the army invade Afghanistan. At least they finally succeeded. The “war” has taken on such a life of its own — ten years in October! — that bin Laden’s death apparently won’t have any effect beyond raising the likelihood of the US extending even more forcefully into Pakistan. I’d not read Yvonne Vickers’ sad story — thanks for alerting me.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 9 May 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  4. http://www.nationaljournal.com/columns/vantage-point/obama-s-war-against-al-qaida-20110505

    Michael Hirsh is articulate here, differentiating between Bush and Obama’s ‘covert, laserlike focus on Al Qaida’. Also out during the week was the 2007 attempt by Bush, which I don’t think had been released before, and which had failed (a big gathering of Al Qaida operatives, Bin Laden expected but didn’t show up). But it’s definitely true that once the Iraq War got going the Bushies started talking about OBL as being this ‘marginalized figure’. And the hard drives and other troves of material found there prove quite otherwise. The raid itself was a thing of near-perfection, and there wasn’t any reason to expect it could be done by ‘working with the Pakistanis’, even though they’ve definitely taken out a lot of Al Qaida themselves. Serwer in the WaPo backs up Hirsh today. But Krauthammer’s piece is surprisingly good from the other day: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/evil-does-not-die-of-natural-causes/2011/05/05/AFhTKG2F_story.html

    Structurally, this made an enormous difference, and immediately defined where people stand. For some of us (and obviously including Obama), there was a sense of unreality, and as the days went by after the assassination, I started thinking of it as OBL having, in a sense, been the strange ruler of some sort of World Mindset. His mystique was very powerful, and Krauthammer is the only one I’ve seen say in the msm that obviously they intended to kill, not capture, him, because he would have still ‘ruled the world’ even in prison, and all the leftist bleugers would have had a wonderful new boost to their ennui. Krauthammer also points out something that won’t be really acceptable for a long time, because, in fact, it was wrong on the face of it: The Iraq War did throw U.S. power in that part of the world, even if what it seems to have done for most of us anti-Al Qaida types is show that when commentators recently started saying ‘He provoked the Iraq War’, I hadn’t thought of that. Although it’s still possible to blame it on Bush and Cheney, because they’re not really sharpshooters as much as just trigger-happy; in this case, they’d have just bombed the compound instead of doing this precision operation.

    The debate about the means to secure the info on the courier is just the discomfort Obama will have to swallow, because Krauthammer and the others who have pointed out that part as being unarguable; they did get some of the most important info from interrogations. But better the debate rage on, be embarassing or whatever, the simple fact is that OBL would have still seemed to possess magical powers unless his brains had been blown out. As you say, ‘At least they finally succeeded’. Yes, and everybody knows it too. I think anti-Americanism and anti-UKism are partially because of the unfairness in rich countries, but also because it’s a great luxury that is allowed by those rich countries. The bleugers who wrote about it all did an abysmal job (I mean the leftist ones we talk to, not TPM, which recorded things I didn’t see in the NYTimes like David Koch’s unbelievably tacky remarks about Obama). I loathed some of them anew and permanently.

    The one part of the operation itself that is hardest for me to visualize (and I think Dick Cavett brought it up on Sat. in NYT) is Osama’s reaction (or the lack of it) to noise coming from downstairs floors. This may not really be known, although weapons including an AK47 was found on the floor. They may have been quiet though. Obviously, they know what silencers are, esp. since the destruction of that helicopter has pointed to the unknown (to the public) development of such a stealth quiet helicopter.

    They’ll probably release the photo at some point. Obama’s pretty cool on that sort of thing, and doesn’t seem to suffer from ‘premature ejaculation’. Giuliani, of course, wanted it released right away, and I did too, but I can see why he wouldn’t. And they definitely were smart to know that they’d be accused of doctoring it immdiately, just as some of these types are saying that ‘Americans still believe OBL is alive’. Since, as TPM reports “a new NBC news poll says 80% of Americans say killing bin Laden was the right decision. Only 11% disagree” the student-y talk of that sort doesn’t even apply.

    TPM has a number of interesting things today, this one on the faux-SEAL: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/05/pastor_revealed_as_faux-seal.php?ref=fpblg and this one on the Texas teacher who was fired for telling a Muslim student he ‘was grieving’ over OBL. You won’t find that in any of the high-commie bleugs: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/05/sayonara.php?ref=fpblg

    I really hadn’t realized what Osama at large seemingly forever had meant in terms of a half-dead atmosphere, and the raid was an immense success, much to the dismay of many super-peaceniks (including my Swede, who lectured me about how ‘Bush is SCUM’ immediately following the announcement. I agreed, but there are different orders of SCUM to different people.)

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    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 9 May 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  5. Thanks for the links to these articles. I don’t have much use for invoking the success of this one operation to justify the various war-related activities preceding it. There’s of course no way of knowing how things might have gone differently had the US not invaded Afghanistan or Iraq, and whether the nearly universal sympathy for America immediately after 9/11 would have yielded quicker capture/death of bin Laden without imprisoning and torturing captives, the vast majority of whom had nothing to do with al Qaeda. It’s curious how, over just the past few months, the rapidly changing situation in several Middle Eastern countries seems to be making radical Islamist factions more marginal. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Brotherhood gains power in Egypt and how they wield it, but the interim government’s attempts to defuse Islam-Christian antagonisms is an encouraging sign. Would Afghanis too have called for democratic changes in a Taliban-led government if the US wasn’t already there propping up its puppet? Again, we’ll never know.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 9 May 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    • It doesn’t ‘justify’ Iraq or Guantanamo or CIA black sites, but neither did ‘American imperialism’ justify the appalling attacks not only on 9/11, but before 9/11 and after. But although Naomi Klein’s ‘shock doctrine’ still holds, it’s less than it was now, in my perception, and is at most, only half the story. Of course, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cynically used 9/11 to excuse their adventuring Iraq, and lied all the way down the line; why wouldn’t they lie? they’d already corruptly stolen the 2000 election.

      They already represented a weak U.S., in getting Rhenquist to not do the recount, but Guantanamo and the CIA black sites and torturing the ones who WERE guilty (not the ones who weren’t, but they are always innocent victims in war, and Krauthammer is definitely right that killing Bin Laden was a War Action; otoh, all the hard leftists are always laughing at ‘innocent victims’ of Qaddafi and Bin Laden, but all pitiful about any victims of American might, and that’s what that’s about–envy) had to do with Al Qaida.

      In other words, if Bin Laden hadn’t done 9/11–and he’d done plenty before that–we don’t also know whether the Bushies could have figured out their case for Iraq and the lies they needed (some of which were even obvious at the time), but mainly the Iraq fiasco was as much Bin Laden’s responsibility as it was the Bushies. He caused it as much as they did, and he fucking LOVED it. He wanted to bankrupt the U.S., and get the U.S. enmired in the Mideast. He cared about no human life at all. He was as corrupt as any billionaire in the U.S., worse than David Koch maybe even, and was less concerned with Islam than he was in hating the U.S. That’s why the hard leftists support any of his crimes–pure U.S. and West-hating. In this, Zizek’s clever tactics are actually always correct.

      The Iraq War taken on by the Bush regime proved that 9/11 had hugely weakened the U.S., and that we were not in a nation ruled by smart people. Once Obama took him out, the perception could be different. Because all of the hard leftists did support bin Laden, they think he was justified in all of his crimes, to the extreme version of the truthers, who even want to pretend he didn’t do them. This is how strong America-hatred is for some of these people.

      The near-miracle is that somebody like Obama is brilliant and hadn’t voted for the Iraq War, even though he obviously had to use whatever intelligence he got in order to get bin Laden. Most Americans (and many others, including Pakistanis who have lost many people to terrorist attacks within their own country, but these you never hear the Western sympathizers talk about–they are also less interested in the ‘Muslims’ as ‘innocent’ than they are in the terrorists, because the terrorists do want to topple the West. What bigger achievement, they surely think?)

      But U.S. powerlessness was gone with Bin Laden’s death, which is not to say precisely that U.S. power was restored completely, or that it solves all problems. The huge guilt buildup from Iraq and the torture debate was something Obama knew how to go beyond and just go ahead with the operation. What’s very pleasant about it is that he even made it so that there’s no argument left for anybody: He made the same symbolic revenge, the only kind that really speaks anything, as Al Qaida itself had by choosing the WTC and Pentagon (and tried for the White House as well.) He’s not in the same cartoon role that Donald Rumsfeld was when he had his ‘rock star moment’.

      But the bleugers are mostly the same on this. They were mostly Americans and Britons, but their Marxism sees a strong ally in the terrorists, and they don’t care about the various Shariah viciousnesses, and the rest. They don’t care about anything but destroying the West. For this, I don’t give a shit if they’re arrested. Even the fantasists like Nick never wanted Bin Laden caught, he LIKED the Iraq War, it served his fantasy of WWIV. This was also a load of bullshit preening, and he was very opposed to Obama.

      So your point was that ‘again we’ll never know’ is true about some of this is true, but Bin Laden condemned the Iraq War while also being delighted he’d caused it, because that was the U.S. at its weakest. In terms of the terrorists, this has been reversed. The U.S. does not any longer appear weak and Pakistan will have to cooperate. The difficulties were also the fear of Pakistan itself, since they have nuclear weapons, so just ‘throwing American military might around’, as in Iraq, and making a mint with Halliburton, is something a senile regime like Bush/Cheney would do. But this is equally Bin Laden’s responsibility, because ‘all’s fair in love and war’, and if the Marxists think Bin Laden was justified (and they do, or they wouldn’t try to pin the blame on people they know didn’t do it, no matter how asshole those people are), then Bush/Cheney were also justified. Except Bin Laden scared them. And well he might. He was totally scary. No wonder billionaire David I. Koch of the Tea Party finds Obama ‘scary’. Obama was not scared of Bin Laden, and killed him.

      So, according to whose side you’re on, Bin Laden was ‘justified’ in 9/11 and all his previous and subsequent smaller attacks on ‘imperialist nations’, nations which are supporting all these whining assholes, of course; or the U.S. was ‘justified’ in showing U.S. power until they could defeat the terrorist network. They haven’t completely defeated it, but they probably will have, and have proved they’re hardly afraid of Pakistan.

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      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 10 May 2011 @ 10:00 am

      • The Bush Regime was weak 1) in 2000, even though they stole the election 2) I’ll never prove it, but I can’t imagine Al Gore ignoring the Aug. 6, 2001 intelligence. Bush and Condi had no trouble with this, and did so. They didn’t have to, and even they didn’t want 9/11. But that they were re-elected is vile. 3) Once Bush and Cheney were calling Bin Laden ‘marginal’, that was as scary as anything, because we know now that he was not.

        In short, Bin Laden had won everything until he was shot. If he’d lasted much longer, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hadn’t become an Official Hero of the world. The worst bleug-writing was in calling the Americans joy at his death ‘tasteless’ and also some unbelievable poem by a commenter somewhere which called the U.S. the ‘world’s deadest nation’, and the person who once said to me ‘Patrick, I thought you were better than that’ told him he’d written a ‘beautiful poem’. Well, you know, I thought SHE was better than that. But she wasn’t. The palpable fury that some of these bleugers are not even able to repress is very impressive. Only in killing OBL was it clear that they were thrilled about the attacks on NYC and D.C. The overthrow of the West, and particularly the U.S., is really their only aim. Such discussions by people we’re familiar with have occurred at Lenin’s Tomb, where the leading freak has said ‘Qaddafi has never really given into imperialism’ and all rebellion against him is considered to be less likely to have an important effect than just letting him kill ‘innocent victims’. By now, these hard Marxists are even making jokes about ‘Qaddafis’ innocent victims’, and they are strictly in the line of the Rosenbergs. Others are talking about ‘unfair accusations of traitors’, but I doubt they themselves have anything to worry about, as they’re small potatoes, and nobody cares about their period of ‘wearing black’ and beating their breasts like OBL’s wives must be.

        It’s like a decade of Lesbian Rule is over. Nick’s own ‘faithfulness to the Zero that Lesbianism provides’, as opposed to the ‘temporary Phallic arrangements’, I forgot the exact stupid words, have degenerated into atrocious posts about ‘cities are accelerators’, a kind of lame latter-day parody of his own accelerationist philosophy. Wow. Isn’t that something? you can get ‘the fast life’ in cities, and if it’s even bigger, like Shanghai, you can even get bigger cock, I guess–although the Chinese typically have a lot to answer for in that category, even if there’s safety in numbers.

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        Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 10 May 2011 @ 10:20 am

  6. I agree with you to a considerable extent. I don’t renounce all violence as anti-humanitarian, and neither does much of the hard left. This has been a consistent and useful theme among some of the bloggers: foreign intervention in the name of human rights either ignores underlying political motivations or covertly chooses sides in the political conflict. Clearly bin Laden was acting politically, and even if he wasn’t acting on behalf of a particular nation-state he was engaging in warfare against the US. For the US in turn to declare war on al Qaeda seemed an appropriate response. In that particular war I side with the US. Pakistan’s government has given the US nearly carte-blanche permission to pursue its military ends in Pakistani territory, and given the fact that bin Laden’s compound must have been under surveillance for months it’s hard to believe that even if the Pakistanis tipped off bin Laden he’d have been able to escape. Clearly the US has used its war against terrorism to run roughshod over other countries and to void its own commitments to humane treatment of prisoners. But all that is a secondary concern for the topic at hand.

    The US under Reagan supported the Afghani mujahideen even if they were a less democratic alternative to the communists who ran Afghanistan at the time, even if they eventually morphed into the Taliban. Why? Because the mujahideen were making trouble for the Soviets — the enemy of our enemy. I regard this sort of opportunism in US foreign affairs as corrupt. Presumably there are some Marxists who support al Qaeda for similar reasons; for similar reasons I regard a Marxist-al Qaeda alliance as corrupt.

    We’ve disagreed before about how much of a factor al Qaeda has been in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I would support continuing covert ops to dismantle al Qaeda altogether. I wouldn’t support invading Pakistan or Yemen or any other country based on the premise that these nations harbor or support al Qaeda operatives. That was the rationale for invading Afghanistan, and look where that’s gotten us.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 10 May 2011 @ 11:34 am

    • “I would support continuing covert ops to dismantle al Qaeda altogether. ”

      No, I definitely agree with that.

      I read some unbelievably idiotic ‘debates’ about Bin Laden as a ‘celebrity’, which is absolutely a stupid and inaccurate word to use for him. Being famous and a celebrity are not the same thing. But even if ‘taking out a celebrity’ was what was somehow ‘powerful’, it’s still meaningless: Saddam Hussein was equally famous, and look at the different reactions. Even people who’d always hated him were bewildered. Nobody knew quite how to react if they weren’t clear already that his capture and eventual hanging were beside the fucking point. Nobody was ‘celebrating’. All it did was make even the most half-conscious people wonder what the point was; they knew there was no point, that this was not the real thing. They’re definitely celebrating this time, because they know it’s the real thing, and the fact that leftist icons like Chomsky are acting almost as senile as super-right-wingers like David Koch and Sarah Palin is very telling: they can’t figure out how to ‘get their stride’ anymore. Makes me wonder if Naomi Klein will find solace in my newly-minted term of the day, ‘the semi-truther’, which Chomsky seems to want to try to do only after Bin Laden is dead. Really pathetic, but Chomsky is overrated and definitely with this new statement has marginalized himself. If he wanted to be a ‘half-truther’, he should have done so long ago, and he didn’t. Now he just seems like a fallen idol. But the person who was bright in the bleug argument gave in to the concept of ‘Bin Laden as celebrity’, although I’ve no doubt he’ll pick himself up from it. This is a very revealing event, and is showing a lot of what people are made (and not made) of. Some people I thought were extremely bright I now see as not even average. I do think that short memories are an across-the-board thing, though.

      Love your new post on ‘cities and dreams’ and the Calvino. The whole idea is always fertile (I was remembering again the Near East Collection at the Met and this huge slab of wall from ancient Babylon, which is fantastically powerful), and I mentioned to you some time back Didion’s famous line from her first collection (which I don’t think you’ve read): “New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and the perishable dream itself. To think of ‘living’ there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not ‘live’ at Xanadu.” Of course, there was only one solution, at least to some degree: The ‘miraculous’ did have to be ‘reduced to the mundane’, because she did decide to live here, and began to adjudge it very differently from her ‘infinitely romantic notion’ of the late 50s and early 60s. But then this also has to do with the way the city itself has become more mundane and less romantic.

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      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 10 May 2011 @ 8:13 pm

  7. Per a new public opinion poll, 60% of Americans believe that, with bin Laden’s death, the US has now accomplished its goals in Afghanistan and should bring the troops home.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 11 May 2011 @ 8:03 am

    • http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/world/middleeast/11military.html

      The Taliban is at 6’s and 7’s. That poll doesn’t say much, and that’s something the public probably doesn’t know much about (I know I don’t), so it’s probably mostly gut reaction. The Taliban is complicated to begin with, and I’d be surprised how many of the public even knows they aren’t the same thing as Al Qaida–for one thing they’re not composed of Saudi billionaires in part, and for another, I don’t know if Al Qaida stones young adulterous fornicators.

      Charles Atlas has solved his bipolar disorder by getting between a rock and a hard place–this was inevitable when nobody would throw a distracting life-preserver, a buffoon’s role I used to provide on bleugs. Now, I’m fine with their just going to hell. The rock was curious, getting stuck on that word ‘celebrity’, and I even think that was useful. The way Charles Atlas was using it, you might as well call Buddha or Al Capone a celeb, and like, really sexy, man. As for the ‘hard place’, there are several, and to my delight upon my levee this morning, they have accused ‘the rock’ of ‘McCarthyism’. I love it.

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      Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 11 May 2011 @ 11:02 am

  8. Yes I think this is the sort of debate that needs to take place now within the Federal government. Surely the Obama administration anticipated both the congratulations and the renewed call to end an already unpopular war. Blurring the distinctions between Taliban and Al Qaeda has always been part of the public relations effort coming out of Washington, and I see in the article you linked that Obama perpetuates this conflation of organizations in order not only to sidestep generally accepted rules of warfare but presumably also to continue using Al Qaeda’s continued presence as justification for continuing the Afghani occupation. It also would provide explicit justification for pursuing Taliban into Pakistan, regarding Taliban not just as the deposed government of an occupied nation but as a multinational terrorist organization. Very dangerous and suspect in my view, but then again both Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns included ramping up the Afghanistan military actions.

    A couple of stories cite informed sources saying that torture wasn’t an effective tactic in gaining the necessary intelligence to identify bin Laden’s location. From a Forbes interview with “a senior US interrogator”:

    Listen,” he said, “waterboarding and/or other coercive techniques did nothing to contribute to our attempts to track down UBL (Usama bin Laden). What did succeed was weeks, months and years of diligent, laborious, and dedicated work – all within the bounds of legal and ethical boundaries….No torture, no waterboarding, no coercion – nothing inhumane – is considered a useful tool in our work.”

    On the subject of blowback, he continued: “I cannot even count the amount of times that I personally have come face to face with detainees, who told me they were primarily motivated to do what they did, because of hearing that we committed torture. Even the rumor of torture is enough to convince an army of uneducated and illiterate, yet religiously motivated young boys to strap bombs to their chests and blow themselves up while killing whoever happens to be around – police, soldiers, civilians, women, or children. Torture committed by Americans in the past continues to kill Americans today.”

    Also this. Presumably it’s an empirical question as to sources of intelligence and how obtained — maybe someday Wikileaks will give us the scoop.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 11 May 2011 @ 11:58 am


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