2005 - On the Senate floor, Dick Durbin objects to the routine, systematic, and deadly abuse of Gitmo prisoners as horrific. The GOP attacks Durbin for being unpatriotic, traitorous, and unAmerican.
2007- George W. Bush blithely states, "This government does not torture people," in response to proof and photos of unbelievable abuse of Iraqis and others by US troops, CIA, and FBI agents.
COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!
I do not believe that enhanced interrogation is torture.
I am against torture. (2007)
I will do anything, including waterboarding, to get timely information from our enemies. (2011)
FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY
It is a sad state of affairs when one political party measures the other party's patriotism on how much torture the other party will inflict on a foreign people. This, unfortunately, is the reality of today's GOP.
I will never forget the attacks on Dick Durbin seven years ago. It started off slow - to quote Rush Limbaugh's threat to torture Nancy Pelosi with a "Drip . . .Drip . . . Drip" on her face, with her tied upside down.
The first surprise was when the International Red Cross complained about access to prisoners, claiming they had clear evidence of torture by US troops or CIA agents. I laughed that off. How could WE - the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - be guilty of torture? That was just some angry, off the wall bin Laden supporter making things up, I thought. Then, the drumbeat and proofs became stronger, that we were attacking, abusing, torturing, even killing prisoners and arrestees. Finally, the story became so strong, that Dick Durbin stood up in the middle of a US Senate session, to complain about these facts, if true, and to demand that we stop doing it.
The GOP, led by Mitch McConnell and with only McCain and two others agreeing with Durbin, booed Durbin, and continued to attack him non-stop, until he apologized. For his comments, not for the US torture.
It was the first time in my life that I cringed at how our senate appeared to the rest fo the world. This was no deliberative body, 100 trusted, intelligent men and women, faithfully upholding the constitution, and doing the nation's business. No, this was a romper room, filled with KarlRovian KKKlowns, Rush-istas and Billo-nauts, all programmed by Fox, and all attacking anyone who dared interfere with with pro war propaganda. All that was missing was the padded walls and the straightjackets, and the image would have been complete. Because the GOP was and still is truly and utterly insane.
Not one Democrat stood up with Durbin. Not one. To them I say shame. And go cheney yourselves. What the hell ever happened to your spines, you bastards?
Finally, at long last, the Democrats are waking up from their fear-based inertia, and beginning to do the right things for the right reasons. It took you all long enough. But even now, better late than never. Perhaps as the statute runs, you might start a congressional investigation of war crimes and torture by US agents and soldiers? and about who ordered it in the first place? Yeah, I didn't think so.
I spoke to Durbin about this mess last year. He admitted that he now regrets what he said. He regrets apologizing for telling the truth.
At least he is on the right side of this crap.
But wait. There is another group that deserves our scorn, a group whose business it was to know better. In fact, that is precisely their business. It is beautifully described by Roy Eidelson:
This is a story of four siblings with improbable names: Safe, Legal, Ethical and Effective. Just as improbably, they all grew up to become psychologists, each with a different area of professional focus. Over many years of independent practice, the four gained considerable recognition for their expertise. Eventually, they joined together to form a high-profile, all-in-one firm in which each sibling's specialized contributions complemented the others'.
You really should read the entire article. It kicks ass, as much as it takes no prisoners.
Here's the postscript to his article, a press release about the American Psychological Association's decision to support torture:
Postscript. In 2005, despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive and torturous interrogations of national security detainees, an American Psychological Association (APA) Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping such interrogations "safe, legal, ethical and effective."
With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional health care organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged. The PENS Report continues to be highly influential in psychological and national security settings today.
The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology is leading a petition campaign calling for annulment of the APA's PENS Report. (Full disclosure: The author is a member of the coalition.) Readers interested in learning more about the annulment initiative can read the petition materials and review the current list of organizational and individual signers, as well as the form to submit an online signature, at www.ethicalpsychology.org/pens.
So, on one side, we have Gonzales, Cheney, Libby, Bush, the APA, the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, NPR, New York Times, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and a whole slew of GOP senators and congresscritters acting as cheerleaders for more and more torture, with too many Democrats joining in, or at least fearfully holding their tongues.
On the other side, we have the real difference between what is clearly wrong and what is right. Unfortunately for our children and children's children, our actions were clearly and unforgivably wrong.
American's psychologists have as much to answer for as many of our military and political leaders. Too bad no one can hold them accountable. At least, not in an election year.