Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.Come join us!!
It has been clear for a long time that under the Bush Administration torture was widely accepted and used. While this fact is troubling in itself, what is really disappointing is that some people seem determined to defend it. Whether by partisan hackery, or just sheer ignorance some people refuse to admit the plain and simple fact.
Enlightened peoples simply do not torture other people. No matter what anyone's arguments on history are the undisputable fact is that America was the first country founded upon the liberal ideals of the Enlightenment. One of those ideals is that someone no matter their crime and no matter how much you disagreed or hated them should not have to be submitted to torture.
What I find the most odd is that it seems that all of those who long have sought to lecture Progressives on their patriotism and on "American values" are the very people who so vehemently defend this practice. And why?? What is there to defend about capturing "enemy combatants" and submitting them to torture??
The simple truth of the matter is that torture simply does not work. It puts our troops at risk of retalitory torture, it helps al-Queda and other terrorist groups recruit, and it diminishes our moral standing in the world. How can we use diplomacy against regimes like N. Korea and China that torture to get them to give their citizens more human rights when we ourselves torture?? Just listen to former FBI interrogator Jack Cloonan speaking on the subject of torture:
But what of the argument that torture helped "keep us safe" by preventing another terrorist attack?? I think it is important to note right of the bat that this argument is being forwarded by folks who failed our country miserably in preventing the first 9-11. It is cover for their own failures after recieving a national security memo entitled "Bin-Laden Determined to Strike in the United States". Folks that did nothing to prevent this attack and a President that felt it was more important to vacation than try to get to the bottom of the plot outlined in that memo are the same ones that used and defend torture. The fact is that torture did not work in it's most famous circumstance:
Democrats say the Bush administration's interrogations policies hurt the nation more than helped it, and they accuse Republicans of twisting the debate. They note, for instance, that former Vice President Dick Cheney and others say suspected al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah underwent harsh interrogation, including waterboarding, and yielded vital information. But records show that some of his most important information, such as the identity of would-be bomber Jose Padilla, came before the harsh treatments were used.
Republicans would be well served to listen to one of their own on this issue:
Few have put it more clearly than South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is also an Air Force colonel and senior instructor at the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School and has served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a 2006 Newsweek interview, Graham said: "Either we're going to use torture or we're not. And when you say, we won't use torture, unless we think we really, really need it [then] we're not a rule-of-law nation."
The main argument I have heard for the use of torture is that terrorists behead people, and torture too. That reminds me of when all our mothers would ask us, "Well, if so and so jumped off a bridge, would you do it too??" Is the fact that some of the most un-Enlightened people that we consider our sworn enemies are doing something really a basis for us to do it ourselves?? Do we aspire to make our country more like Saudi Arabia, Iran and al-Queda?? I think it is pretty sad to think that some Americans would really like to make us more like terrorists.
And what about those who are Christian that have no problem with our country torturing?? In the Christian belief Jesus Christ was tortured and murdered and died for our sins so that we may have eternal life. What would he think about those who aspire to follow him torturing others?? I think it is very likely a relief to him he has not a grave to roll over in.
I think it all boils down to whether Americans want us to be an Enlightened, rule of law society or not. Enlightened peoples simply do not torture their fellow man. Christian peoples don't either. Torture runs against all the principles our country was founded on, and indeed runs against all the principles Christianity was founded on.
It is time to look at it for what it is. Torture does not accomplish anything. It only makes matters worse. Even worse yet, it is a completely un-American, and un-Christian thing to do. I think we should call it for what it is. It has no basis in morality, or freedom, or intelligence. It is simply revenge and brings us down to the un-Enlightened level of those we seek to defeat.
Now, I have given up on the folks who did this ever being brought to justice. Such people always seem to be able to walk between the raindrops. However, if this mistake can be used to create a public uproar to make sure that America never again drags itself down to such an un-Enlightened level I will consider it the only accomplishment of the Bush Administration.