By Matthew Rothschild on September 28, 2012

So now Mitt Romney wants to bring waterboarding back?

An article buried on the bottom of page 13 of The New York Times on Friday revealed that Romney’s national security team has recommended to him that he rescind President Obama’s executive order barring torture.

The Times article, by the great Charlie Savage, also notes that Romney last December said he didn’t think waterboarding was torture and that he would use techniques—isn’t that a creepy word—that Obama refuses to use and that are not allowed by the Army manual.

This puts Romney squarely back in the sadistic Bush-Cheney camp.

And little wonder: Because many of the people on his national security team actually served in the Bush-Cheney administration and backed waterboarding and other kinds of brutalities.

This is not a lovely glimpse into what a Romney presidency would look like.

In fact, it’s a horrifying flashback, and a reminder that the neocons and Cheneyites are just biding their time, waiting for their opportunity to abuse power once more.

This is what happens when there is impunity, as Professor Al McCoy of the University of Wisconsin argues. By not prosecuting Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld or Alberto Gonzales and other senior officials who designed the torture policy, and by not prosecuting the CIA agents who actually did the waterboarding, President Obama has left the door open for the torturers.

And they’re lining up to get back in.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Hey NFL, You Hire Scab Labor, You Get a Scab Product."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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