Sunday, May 01, 2005

The ultimate in outsourcing


When a colleague of mine at Boston's Emerson College needed help hanging a picture in his office earlier this year, he discovered he had to call someone in Phoenix, Ariz., to put through his requisition order. And when I called up my Internet provider to find out why service had gone dead, I found myself talking to someone in Texas. So it makes perfectly good sense that the United States is outsourcing a rather sensitive order of business even farther away these days:
overseas to that little-known torture paradise of Uzbekistan. Who better to call when you need a little boiled oil to get a suspected terrorist to talk? How better to build a community of nations than through equal-opportunity human rights violations?

Consider President Bush's dilemma. Deep down he knows his Coalition of the Willing never amounted to much more than BAA (Britain, America and Australia). Even the flower decorations are disintegrating. The Italians and Poles are pulling out their forces by year's end. The Spanish are already gone. Can the Falkland Islands be far behind? Or did they commit any troops?

I can feel the president's pain. What's a guy to do to achieve his clear goal of reaching out to the world in this, his second term. He keeps trying. He's appointed Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank, a sure sign that all nations voicing demands for economic freedom will start on a level playing field -- and with just about everything else leveled for that matter. He's appointed John Bolton as his representative to the United States, another man who speaks eloquently of the need for leveling (in his case, the leveling of most stories of the United Nations building).
He's even sent Condi to France.

Of course, I can feel the terror suspects pain even more: trust me, it hurts when torturers extract fingernails and toenails with pliers, just one of the dandy tricks the Uzbekis have been accused of. But aren't a few dozen extracted toenails a small price to pay for a global community of torture that leaves no nation behind?

Since the World Bank deals with economic development and since Wolfie and the president are such pals, I wanted to leave both with a modest proposal. Rather than leaving our Uzbeki jailer friends with piecemeal work -- an arm boiled off here, genitalia wilted from electroshock there -- perhaps we should support an economic development grant to make those efforts systematic.

But that would be illegal and immoral, wouldn't it? Oh dear.


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