Of all the scary shit that has happened in the past seven and a half years -- the stolen election, the people crashing planes into buildings, the "suspension" of civil liberties, the trumped-up intelligence, the misbegotten war, the failure to plan for entirely foreseeable events, the insistence on "staying the course" when any hope of success is gone and on sacrificing human lives to avoid embarrassment, the contempt for international institutions, the illegal domestic spying, the politicization of every arm of the executive branch -- the one that I can never quite forget about while I'm watching The Office, the one that has turned into a persistent hum of terror at the back of my head, is the indefinite detention of hundreds of foreign nationals on little or no evidence without trial or appeal, also known as "Guantanamo Bay." I often find myself trying to avoid reading about it, it scares me so much.

Here's a Peabody Award-winning episode of This American Life, originally broadcast last year, about what happens at Guantanamo and how we got to this sorry pass. (I guess they're taking another break from documenting liberal upper-middle-class existence.) It includes interviews with two former detainees. (Ira Glass begins the program by pointing out how rarely we see interviews with ex-Guantanamo inmates on TV or in the paper.) You can download it to your iPod or read the transcript. It will make you think about Kafka's The Trial, and about Orwell's 1984, and about the stories we used to hear about the USSR, and about what the hell has happened to this country.