“We tortured some folks,” were the rather ill-chosen words of our president a few days ago. He was talking about what will likely go down as one of the darker times in American history. A time when we set aside everything we claimed to stand for, ignored the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, broke international and domestic law and tortured some “folks”. Ok, Obama caught a lot of heat for the use of the word “folks” there, and rightly so. But I’m much more concerned about something else. I’m concerned about what we plan to do next.
You see, we did indeed torture people. It was done, as near as we can all tell, with the full knowledge and cooperation of the executive branch, up to and including President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Under their watch, and with their approval, the United States embarked on a great folly that stained our national honor and knocked us off any moral high ground for the next…well, who knows how long?
So what are we going to do about this? What can we do to restore our honor, and our standing in the world? What consequences should there be when we have government personnel who break the law of our country and international law?
Thankfully, we have a Justice Department that can and should be perusing legal action. I don’t know that they are, but they certainly should be. Bush, Cheney and everyone else involved should be facing trials and long prison terms if found guilty. During his press conference, the President said, in regards to torture, that “…hopefully, we don’t do it again in the future.” Well, I think that prosecution of those who did it in the past would serve as a possible deterrent for those who might do it in the future, yes?
Failing prosecution, I’d like at least a Truth and Reconciliation Committee, rather like what they had in South Africa after apartheid. It isn’t everything, but it is better than nothing, and sadly, I think nothing is what we’re going to get.