Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bad, CIA! Bad!

The Senate's Torture Report (big honkin' 500+ page PDF), otherwise known as the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency 's Detention and Interrogation Program, was released today. Well, the Executive Summary was released.

To nobody's surprise, it describes the forms of torture our country used against people. Forms of torture we imprisoned or executed people for after World War II after finding them guilty of doing the same thing. Forms of torture we condemned other countries for using. Forms of torture never dreamed up before.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney had this to say:

“What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation, and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview. “I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program.”

Cheney admits to the Bush administration's knowledge of and authorization for the use of torture. The euphemism "enhanced interrogation techniques" made torture sound so much more acceptable, especially to protect ourselves from a global terrorism threat. Fear and propaganda can make you accept anything as reasonable. You can even contrive a legal justification for it even if it is discredited and withdrawn later.

But don't expect anything to come of this. After his first election, President Obama said he believed we needed to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.

In other words, nobody will be held responsible for the crimes committed in our country's name.

Doing the right thing is a hard choice. Should a former president and vice president be prosecuted and possibly imprisoned for war crimes or should our country admit to using torture and just say it's time to move on.

Yep. A hard choice.
The CIA should have no problem surviving the stern looks and finger pointing. Our country on the other hand abandoned the moral high ground years ago and has no chance of recovering it. We can express indignation at others all we want as long as we're prepared to have Guantanamo, Bagram, dark sites, water boarding, and rectal feeding thrown into our collective faces. Because now it's a shame we all share.

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