About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Value Of Torture

I am aghast that once again the nation is engaged in the wrong discussion about the wrong problem. Suddenly we have the debate again of Team Cheney/Rice ("Torture works! It gave us the information we needed to get Osama!") and Team Moore/MoveOn/HuffPo ("Torture doesn't work! All it gets is lies and disinformation!"). And it makes me sick, because both those arguments effectively accept the legitimacy of the act itself: the conscientious applied torture of another human being.

It doesn't matter whether torture might provide valuable information: robbing a bank provides valuable funds, but we don't accept it as morally or legally legitimate. It makes no difference what someone might say after being waterboarded 183 times. Or once. The point is that we, as a people and as a nation, have a choice to either uphold our ideals, or debase them utterly. There is no middle ground here: you can't "sorta kinda" torture someone. It's all or nothing, just as murder is all or nothing.

So we have that choice: uphold our ideals, or debase them utterly. By choosing to accept the current basis of discussion --- "does torture work" rather than "is torture right" --- we have started down the uglier of those two paths.

I've said this all before. I'll keep saying it. We are the sum of our actions, and if we choose to accept and practice actions which are degrading, inhuman, and immoral, then we too become as degraded, inhuman, and immoral as the acts themselves.

It's not a slippery slope, folks: it's a sheer precipitous cliff.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bin Laden Is Dead

BBC reports. Obama is supposed to be making a statement in moments.

This is very strange feeling news. Both enormous, and weirdly inconsequential.

further... Listening to Obama speak now. This is an astonishing moment. Hearing the president take personal responsibility for this action, was just...remarkable.

further... Has it really been ten years? It feels as though we've been at war forever...."Justice has been done". So says the president. And he is right.

further... "we can do whatever we set our minds to"; it's both a confirmation of American exceptionalism, and a subtle repudiation of the failures of the last decade. Bravo, Mr. President.