In Our Name

I usually keep the conversation light, focused on writing and games and horses and TV shows and movies. But the torture report which was published today (and keep in mind this is a mere 20% of the actual report a 500 page summation of a 6700 page report that is classified) is harrowing, horrific, stunning and a detailed look at how we lost our moral compass and our way after 9/11. I am sickened and furious.

Torture was rejected at the very founding of our country by GeorgeWashington. When asked how to care for British prisoners he said, “Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their treatment of our unfortunate brethren…. Provide everything necessary for them on the road.”

Aside from being a moral abomination this is _illegal_. We executed Japanese officers who had waterboarded American service men, there was a little thing called the Nuremberg Trials. We signed the Geneva Conventions.  So where is the accountability?  Why are the men who besmirched out honor not being prosecuted?  I have been a supporter of President Barack Obama.  I understood why politically he didn’t take action against the torturers when he first took office, but I kept thinking — “he’s a Constitutional scholar and lawyer.  Someday he will act.”  Well, he better act now.  With the release of this report people can no longer pretend these acts of barbarism were perpetrated by a “few bad apples”.  This went to the highest levels of government.  America has taken the stand that we will go after and punish war criminals.  Now the message we are sending is that we won’t prosecute when they’re our war criminals.

Yes, 9/11 was a grotesque assault on innocent people.  Yes, our enemies do horrific, inhuman things to prisoners.   Are supposed to emulate them? Is this what American exceptionalism has become? If you want a very detailed analysis of the report I refer you Andrew Sullivan who is live blogging about the report as he reads through the 500 pages. Be warned — it is horrifying and upsetting.   live-blogging-the-torture-report

And don’t forget — for every American — this was done in our name.

3 Responses to In Our Name

  • Melinda Snodgrass says:

    Just went back to Sullivan’s blog. He has been live blogging for six straight hours and he’s tying things up now. We all owe him our thanks.

  • Torture is wrong. Torture is illegal. The report is horrifying.
    That should be enough but I still hear a chorus of buts from those who refuse to be satisfied. “But we had to have the info”, but but but.
    The buts continue even in the face of no evidence that torture is at all useful.
    From the pieces I have seen of the Nuremberg trials, the defendants there also had many buts.

    It does seem that this should be a document leading to a whole set of trials. It is terrible that it hasn’t.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Completely agree, Steven. I’ve been ranting about this for almost a decade. I knew horrors were committed in my name and in the name of all Americans, but the level of depravity revealed in this report was staggering. I wish there was an independent global body that could actually act and bring these people to justice. If Holder or the President attempts to bring prosecutions it will be seen as partisan politics instead of an attempt to restore our honor. All I can say is Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the CIA chiefs better not set foot outside the United States. Some country will arrest them and take them to the Hague.

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