Yesterday, in my post on Capitalism, Creativity and Fundamentalism, I commented on the tendency to become manifestly more like the enemies we defeat:
'Truth be told, I believe that hard line tactics tend to be paradoxically 'cynical' and 'naive,' often leaving the victor more like the defeated enemy rather than the other way around. The parallel I would draw here is to arguing with a patient over an interpretation. When we win, we lose.'
Today's NY Times offers an account of the wrongful imprisonment of Donald Vance, a contractor from Chicago who worked in Iraq. Vance, who is a 29-year-old Navy Veteran, was held by US authorities for three months after a raid on the company where he worked. One of the more nightmarish aspects of this story is that the raid was triggered by a tip to the FBI from Vance. He had recently gone to work for a local Iraqi security contractor and had noticed a number of suspicious activities that he believed U.S. authorities should know about.
The military did not reach Vance's FBI contact until three-weeks after he was picked up during the raid. After Vance's account checked out with his FBI contact, the U.S. continued to hold him for two more months because he was under suspicion for having associated with the bad characters he had turned in to authorities.
Vance, who was subjected to abuses designed to break down detainee' resistance to interrogators complained that he asked for an attorney but was not given legal counsel during his imprisonment without trial or charges. A pentagon spokesperson, Lt Lea Ann Fracasso, said that Mr. Vance had been 'treated fair and humanely' and that there was no record that he complained about his treatment.
To put this in more polite terms than I am inclined to use here, I find that sort of official response to be disgraceful. To suggest that Mr. Vance was treated humanely because the captors who were abusing him have no record of his complaint serves to underscore my contention that the victors become more like those they defeat.
In my post yesterday, I also called economic liberals in the Republican party to task for their unprincipled alliance with Christian fundamentalists:
'I believe that one of the great failures of Republicans who understand the destructive (and deconstructive) side of creative activity has been their politically expedient silence on homegrown Christian fundamentalism. It seems that many Republicans who reject fundamentalism and tribalism have decided that the political enemy of my enemy is my friend, without thoroughly considering that the friend of political convenience is saying the same thing about them.
When the enemy of my enemy is my friend, should it come as any surprise that some people are confused about the differences between their enemies and their friends? Under such a circumstance, we should not be surprised that some people even begin to act very much like their enemies.
The Times reports that Mr. Vance is back in Chicago. Of his current situation, Mr. Vance says "It's really hard. I don't talk about this stuff with my family. I feel ashamed, depressed, still have nightmares, and I'd say I suffer from some paranoia."