Torture, a Blight Upon AmericaMarch 14, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Posted in American politics | 2 Comments
This is a must read.
This is not what America stands for. This is not justice. This is not righteous. This is what our enemies do. This is what evil people do. Mr. Danner abbreviated his piece for the New York Times, and he makes some very valid points for us to consider. Writing about the men we tortured,
From everything we know, many or all of these men deserve to be tried and punished — to be “brought to justice,” as President Bush vowed they would be. The fact that judges, military or civilian, throw out cases of prisoners who have been tortured — and have already done so at Guantánamo — means it is highly unlikely that they will be brought to justice anytime soon.
For the men who have committed great crimes, this seems to mark perhaps the most important and consequential sense in which “torture doesn’t work.” The use of torture deprives the society whose laws have been so egregiously violated of the possibility of rendering justice. Torture destroys justice. Torture in effect relinquishes this sacred right in exchange for speculative benefits whose value is, at the least, much disputed.
The use of torture by a democracy that believes in justice and the rule of law tears down that justice and rule of law. We become a brutal, violent people. We become the enemy of what we stand for.
And why do we do it? What value is there in doing what we did to these men when the cost is so high? Compare what George Bush ordered with another George ordered, one George Washington.
First among these may well be the tradition of humane warfare, articulated by George Washington after the Battle of Trenton, December 24, 1776. “Treat them with humanity,” Washington directed with respect to the captured Hessians. He forbade physical abuse and directed the detainees be quartered with the German-speaking residents of Eastern Pennsylvania, in the expectation that they would become “so fraught with a love of liberty, and property too, that they may create a disgust to the service among the rest of the foreign troops, and widen the breach which is already opened between them and the British.” (Things unfolded exactly as Washington envisioned). Washington also set the rule that detainees be given the same housing, food and medical treatment as his own soldiers. And he was particularly concerned about freedom of conscience and respect for the religious values of those taken prisoner. “While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious of violating the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of hearts of men, and to Him only in this case are they answerable.”
When we contend for our liberty, we must not violate the rights of others, lest we undermine our contention for liberty.
What we have done under George W. Bush and approved of by millions of Americans is a grievous sin. It is wrong. It undermines our fight. It creates more enemies. It puts our soldiers in further danger. Anyone who advocates for the use of torture (name it whatever the hell you want – “enhanced interrogation techniques” – nomenclature matters not at the real judgment day) undermines and sabotages the mission of the United States of America. They increase the risk of further violence upon Americans, both civilian and soldiers. They degrade the morals and principles our country supposedly fights for. These people ought to be shunned and booed from public life.