Canadians OK torture

Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:24

Originally written: 24 February 2006

According to an Ipsos-MORI poll, 28 percent of Canadians believe that governments should torture you or your son or daughter if the shadowy security agencies think you or offspring may be a terrorist.

Perhaps your teenage son spends a lot of time with people you do not know, who just may have been born in Iraq or Saudi Arabia, or maybe Indonesia. That might look rather suspicious to CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service), especially if your son has ever been involved in any protest, such as a “peace walk.”

Your daughter may be romantically involved with someone who has made a number of recent trips to Saudi Arabia to visit relatives. Maybe your daughter accompanied him “to see the world.”

Maybe one of your son’s or daughter’s friends really is a terrorist, or a suspected terrorist. Can you be 100 percent sure they are not? Are you going to be cautious, and understandably protective, and order your children to submit to your fear, and abandon their friends? If so, are you going to try to pretend that your racial or regional profiling of their friends is not racism?

What if your Indonesian friend from work, with whom you often go to lunch, is a terrorist or a suspected terrorist?

No. Of course not! You and those you know are just ordinary people, of no interest to CSIS.

What a relief knowing that you can trust CSIS and the CIA, and other such organizations. What a relief to know that if any of your acquaintances are terrorists, they would tell you up front so that you could avoid them, and turn them in to CSIS.

So, CSIS is not going to be coming after you, and therefore it does not really matter that 28 percent of Canadians (maybe including those who count at CSIS) think that torture is okay. And besides, everyone knows that the security agents are always right about their suspicions and would not suspect someone who was not a terrorist. Just like they had absolute, uncontrovertible proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Are you confident enough that the security agencies can be trusted?

Now, President Bush has finally, after more than two years of bitter denials and attacks on anyone who dared to question, admitted “that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”

The pro-torture 28 percent of Canadians, probably believe something to the effect that all bets are off during a war, and sometimes innocent people get hurt. That is a popular excuse. People who approve of torture, assume that they will not be tortured. They are quite willing to accept the torture of someone else as the price we have to pay. Unfortunately, it is the innocents who pay the price.

War is inherent in capitalism. As long as people are willing to acquiesce to capitalism, war — including what is now called terrorism — will remain a blight upon us all.

But of course, everyone tells socialists, terrorism must be dealt with immediately! It cannot wait. No matter how low “good” people must stoop to deal with the problems thrown up by the confrontation inherent in capitalism, people will stoop — lower and lower. Terrorism and other forms of war will continue, no matter how low people stoop. No matter how obvious, no matter how much proof that capitalism is the source of the problems, most people are willing to believe that it is the best possible social structure. And so, lower and lower people stoop, crawling on their bellies to tolerate the fact that in a war, innocents get hurt.

Get up! Open your eyes! Take capitalism down for the count, before it takes you down further than you are willing to go. Or, is there no limit to how low you will go? Is there no limit to how many innocents you are willing to sacrifice to capitalism?
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