The Axis of Medieval Rant: Bring On The Show Trials, Witches and Waterboarding
You've all heard of The Axis Of Evil, of course, but what about The Axis of Medieval? Because, man, has it ever been a great week for them! In fact, it's been an amazing week for all admirers of the Dark Ages and all fans of Medieval systems, techniques and mindsets. First there was the report out of Saudi Arabia the other day about the Saudi Arabian "witch" being sentenced to death for, uh, "casting spells" on some guy, then there was this buffoon in the White House threatening to veto a Senate bill outlawing torture, and, finally, there was the start of the show trials for some of the most prominent tortured inmates at the Guantanamo Bay gulag. Truly a great week for Medieval lovers everywhere.
Waterboarding For Freedom
Waterboarding, of course, is the form of torture that Bush wants to keep legal in the U.S. arsenal. And, therefore, he has to claim that it's, in fact, not torture at all. But just by claiming something isn't torture doesn't change the reality of it being exactly just that. When the Iranians, Saudis and others savagely whip people, or hook up their genitals to electrodes and then claim it's all quite harmless, we can choose to believe them or we can choose to use rational thought instead. Same thing when the White House tells us that their torture techniques are civilized and humane.
The fact of the matter is water boarding has been a form of torture at least since the Spanish Inquisition, and, hey, if anyone knew a good torture technique when they saw it it was the Roman Catholic Inquisitors of Spain. But, it wasn't just them, no, the Nazis used it too, as did the Khmer Rouge, amongst others. Not exactly regimes known for their adherence to humane interrogation techniques.
From what I understand, the person being waterboarded is actually being asphyxiated and believes they are going to die. In other words, its a mock execution. And this is what George W. Bush is so passionate about keeping "legal" in America. Way to go buddy! I mean, if you're not already The Worst President In American History, this should definitely do it for you when History finally judges you down the line.
What is indisputable right now, however, is that the American government considers waterboarding to be torture whenever it's used against Americans, but when used by Americans it is, we're supposed to believe, a necessary technique for eliciting information and protecting the Free World. "It's a vital tool in the fight to safeguard national security", Bush and Dick would like the world to understand. Funny enough, those are almost the exact same words used by China, Burma, North Korea and all other tyrannical regimes whenever they torture their victims. Though when they do it, of course, it's simply "barbaric and uncivilized" and not, as in America's case, all about letting freedom and liberty reign throughout the world.
As you may have heard, the American government actually had Japanese officers tried and executed for torturing (i.e. waterboarding) American POWs after WWII (if not read more here). Now they use the very same technique against those they hold captive and then try to have these waterboarding "confessions" accepted into monkey trials as "evidence". It's just plain silly, isn't it?
Bring On The Show Trials
As for the Guantanamo inmates who've just been charged and are now facing the death penalty, one of the main charges they face is "targeting civilians", which of course is a war crime. But doesn't it seem a bit ludicrous coming from a country that dropped nuclear bombs on the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, fire-bombed Dresden, Tokyo and many other civilian targets and then spent approximately 8 years dropping massive quantities of explosives on Vietnamese villages, killing millions of civilians in all?
Seriously, does hypocrisy come any more blatant and obvious than this? It'd be like the Nazis prosecuting "enemy combatant" POWs for anti-semitism. Or Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge bringing captured soldiers up on charges of genocide. Or Stalin charging some captured enemy with crimes against humanity. It's just flat-out ridiculous, if you ask me.
Burn The Witch!
And what about that so-called witch over there in that great American ally known as Saudi Arabia? This "witch", an illiterate woman who was beaten and forced to fingerprint a "confession" that she couldn't even read, is accused of - wait for it - making some guy impotent. And they're actually planning to execute her over this. I'm not joking. You can read all about it here in this BBC article: Pleas for condemned Saudi 'witch'
So, there you have it, a truly fantastic and exciting week for The Axis of Medieval and all their supporters and fans, a week which has brought the Saudi regime and the Bush regime even closer together than they already were, if that's even possible. When it comes to bridging the cultural divide and bringing people and regimes closer together, it really has been a great few days.
Of course all this also means it's been a very sad and depressing week for humanity. But, hey, we can't win 'em all now can we?
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Sunday, February 17th, 2008