Sunday, October 01, 2006

Quiz and more

If you've read and followed the links in the post Waterboarding 101 below, this one is easy.
What is the main goal of the torturer?
1. To stop an immenent attack on America
2. To find the whereabouts of Osama
3. To get false confessions
4. Fun

Answer: 3

Juan Cole has an important post up today that puts America's new obsession with torture in perspective. As I read it, the crux is that the US needs to create an imaginary enemy to justify the huge expense of a network of bases in the Middle East and Central Asia. But by all means, read it yourself.
These bases have been nicknamed 'lily pads', since they are maintained by a force of only a few thousand troops, but can support 40,000 or more. But since the Al Quaida threat that they are supposed to defend against is imaginary, what is their real goal? If it is to defend oil infrastructure, and support the regimes of the area, one need only look at Uzbekistan to see how the strategy is countered, you get ordered out by the local dictator, and then you leave because to cannot do anything else.
So, is this just another incredibly expensive boondoggle, justified by torture? Is there really a strategic sense to these bases, can they really project enough power to control countries and oil infrastructure? Despite the bases, we must look awfully distant to a central asian nation such as


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