Friday, October 17, 2008

Will Richmonders see 'Torturing Democracy'?

There's a new documentary, "Torturing Democracy," that isn't scheduled to be shown -- so far -- in Richmond. It's subject matter, torture, is disturbing, so it's no wonder that it isn't showing on all PBS stations.

To see a clip from this documentary that aired tonight (Friday) on some PBS stations, click on the YouTube box above. To see other brief clips, click here, here, here, here, and here.

It's been 62 years since 10 prominent Nazis were executed, having been found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II. Their fate said for all to see that in the civilized world, torture -- even during a war -- is always going to be viewed as a crime.

Yet, it seems that perhaps a third of Americans, according to opinion polls, believe it can be proper to torture certain captives in prosecuting the so-called War on Terror.

Hey, why not? If popular action television heroes can use the old thumbscrew on their foes and get results within a one-hour format, then shouldn't the USA's armed forces, spies, and mercenaries/contractors have that same tool in their war toolboxes?

No doubt many other Americans aren't so sure when it might be OK to use torture. Still others have made up their minds that torture is immoral and against law of the land. And, of course, there are those who would rather not even think about such a dark subject.

Meanwhile, since torture is illegal in America, President George Bush has insisted: "This country doesn't torture. We're not going to torture." Then, conveniently, the White House has refused to define torture, so its predictable denials have been something less than satisfying.

But some of what's been going on down at Gitmo, and in other dark corners of the world, is going to cause problems, down the road. It always does. In the long run, torture is perhaps most indefensible because it inevitably poisons the future; more tortured parents and siblings means more children growing up obsessed with payback.

To see this film in its entirety, or to learn more about "Torturing Democracy," click here.

If you want WCVE to show this documentary in Richmond, click here to send them an email, or, you can call Janet Campbell, Director of Television Programming for WCVE at (804) 560-8126.

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