The Origins of Torture

So during the Bush years the United States became a nation that used torture. It’s illegal under US and international law, sullied our image in the eyes of the world, violated 200+ years of legal history and tradition in this country, was covered-up by people who clearly knew that it was illegal, and, worst of all for some people’s views, it didn’t even work.

You might ask yourself, as I have, how exactly we came to be the kind of country that thinks torture is acceptable. Well, have a look at this article from Slate, which will clear up some of your questions.

You know, the more that I think about it, the more it’s clear that Bush and company knew this was illegal. Given that, I’m wondering why they didn’t just go to Congress and have a law passed saying they could torture people. If it’s such a good, effective, vital weapon in the war on terror, this should have been a no-brainer, especially in the days after 9/11. But that didn’t happen. Instead we used torture against people who weren’t nearly as dangerous to us as the Nazis were, and we didn’t torture them. In fact, as I’ve pointed out before, we put Japanese officers on trial and killed them for doing to our troops what we did to (sometimes innocent), people.

I’ve given up any real hope of Bush and company going to trial for this. They should. But since no one wants to do it, I’d at the very least like there to be a truth and reconciliation committee. This committee would be empowered to investigate anything and everything connected to torture, and evidence they unearth would not be allowed to be used in courts. As a result, none of the people who turned us into a torture nation would be legally punished, but their acts would be dragged out into the light and we would all have to face up to the crimes done in our names.

But since that won’t happen either…the best I can probably hope for realistically is that fifty years down the line Bush ends up at the bottom of the list of effective presidents, with a legacy as repudiated as that of, say, Andrew Johnson. One can dream.


11 Responses to “The Origins of Torture”

  1. indyfromaz Says:

    Obama has already beat him for incompetence though. Though you’d never know it from the Ministry of Truth…

    • Chris Says:

      Even if I agreed with you on that score, which I don’t, incompetence sure as hell does not beat out illegality.

      • indyfromaz Says:

        Eric Holder excluded from that :). Oh, and what information led to “getting Bin Laden” in the first place?

        • Chris Says:

          Well, I learned just last night while watching 60 Minutes, that Khalid Sheik Mohammad, after being tortured repeatedly, was still able to lie about the courier that was working for bin Laden and sent the CIA on a wild goose chase, driving them farther and father away from where bin Laden was hiding. So, as I said, even ignoring all the moral issues involved, we still have the rather big problem that torture doesn’t work.

          • indyfromaz Says:

            granted. But asking them nicely doesn’t work either. It’s not a simple problem.

          • indyfromaz Says:

            So when is “Fast & Furious” and Eric Holder going to enrage you for illegal activity?

          • Chris Says:

            Actually, according to the FBI, their interrogation processes were working. We’re generally quite good at getting information out of people without torture. It’s also worth remember that the Nazis were a far greater threat to us, we never tortured Nazi prisoners and we were able to get information out of them.

            As for that rather stupid fast and furious thing, it is being investigated. I’m not sure whether any laws were broken or not, but at least it’s being looked into.

          • indyfromaz Says:

            Looking into it? Trying desperately to ignore it more like.
            And since when is knowingly selling guns to Mexican Drug Cartel members and losing them in some ham-fisted stupid play for gun control not worth someone’s time. After all, many people are Dead over this. And now it comes out they may have also allowed GRENADES!!!! I’m sure Brian Terry’s Family appreciates them “looking into it”.
            About 300 Mexicans have been killed by Fast and Furious weapons. More than 1400 guns remain lost.
            Last fall’s slaying of Mario Gonzalez, the brother of a Mexican state prosecutor, shocked people on both sides of the border. Sensational news reports revealed that cartel hit men had tortured Gonzalez, and forced him to make a videotaped “confession” that his high-powered sister was on the take.

            But American authorities concealed one disturbing fact about the case from their Mexican counterparts: U.S. federal agents had allowed AK-47 assault rifles later found in the killers’ arsenal to be smuggled across the border under the notorious Fast and Furious gun-trafficking program.(LA TIMES)

            Glad “they are looking into it”. 😦

          • Chris Says:

            Yes, well, investigations are an important part of the criminal process and need to be done. Anyhow, this is getting very far afield, so let’s just let this one go.

  2. Warren Ockrassa Says:

    It hasn’t changed; it’s getting worse. You can now be strip- and body cavity-searched on arrest for any infraction whatsoever, regardless of what sort of offense landed you in jail. You’re subject to groping and porno scanning at airports. GITMO is still in operation, and I am unconvinced that we’ve stopped torturing.

    It’s not just Bush. It’s the whole bloody system. The US has gone authoritarian, and it’s only a matter of time now before we’re all left wandering around and wondering what went wrong, and why, and without any power whatsoever to change it.

    • Chris Says:

      To be fair, I actually don’t have any problem with people being strip-searched when brought into jail, regardless of the offense. If you’re inside there, you should be checked over completely. I’m still annoyed about Gitmo, but there was only so much Obama could do when every single suggestion he put forward to close it was blocked.

      And, no, it isn’t just Bush, but it started with him, and that’s why we need to do something about what he did.

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