Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Torture as Policy

Frankly, I am amazed that we are even having this debate:
Should we, or should we not, make it illegal for the federal government (military, CIA, the Vice President, the First Lady, Barney, whoever) to administer "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control of the United States government."

It would seem a simple answer. Of course not.

But Dark Lord Cheney is conducting a stealth campaign to keep the McCain language from moving forward.

There are so many aspects of this story that make my skin crawl. First, it is simply morally, ethically, and legally wrong. Second, from everything I've heard and read on it, it doesn't work (note the volumes of bad intelligence we've run with before - I wonder how much of that faulty testimony came under the duress of some form of torture?) Third, it absolutely decimates the perception of what America stands for abroad - especially in the Muslim world.

Richard Cohen addresses that impact in the WaPo today.

So much for a strategy of winning their hearts and minds.

Finally, in order to deflect criticisim, it has driven our President to baldly lie about it: "Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture." By "torture", I guess he deosn't mean "freezing a prisoner to death by leaving him exposed naked to freezing cold temperatures overnight."

Yes, we are at war here against some very bad people. Yes, bad things happen in a war. And, yes, individuals will and do commit atrocities - even Americans.

As a kid, I can remember a friend's grandfather describing his role in the aftermath of a WWII battle in France. They had captured two Germans. They hung them - alive - from a tree in the town center. Then, they all took turns stabbing at them with their bayonets, like kids at a pinata, until they were dead. Then, they mutilated their corpses.

I couldn't believe it. "But we're Americans," I said, sickened. "We don't do that."

"Yes, we do," he told me.

And now our President and Vice President simply want to make it official.


Blogger Mason said...

I agree with you.....it doesn't always work, and it is morally, ethically, and legally wrong. But i do not understand why the administration continues to denounce torture, yet refuses to accept the McCain language, especially since McCain has threatened to attach this ammendment to any and all legislation until it does get signed by the White House. Oh....and I really think Cheney is a real asswipe. Just my opinion.

By the way....welcome back. I've missed your commentary. :)

2:36 PM  

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