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.