Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thoughts on Torture

I've repeated - I don't know how many times - before that we don't do the things we do because of who "they" are but because of who we are. Dick Cheney insists to this day that, because it yielded actionable intelligence, our torture of prisoners was justified. I think we all need to think about who we are and what, if anything, we stand for.

The Geneva Conventions are pretty clear that placing someone in fear for their life or of being maimed is considered torture throughout the world. We can call it 'aggressive interrogation' if we want to, but in the World Court it's called torture. People who torture are criminals. In fact, given that it's hard to think of anything more terrifying than being killed or maimed, it could be argued that people who torture are terrorists... terrorist organizations... state sponsored terrorism.

We did it. We need to face that we did it, and we need to stop doing it. I was going to say that we need to promise not to do it again, but historically we are also faithless liars. (Seriously, sending prisoners to countries where we know they will be tortured and then using the resulting intelligence makes us what?)

Does the end justify the means? If it does then any behavior can be justifed by a successful outcome. Is that who we are? It kind of looks like that's who we are.

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Blogger Rain said...

You said it well and there is something worse that we need to be prepared to hear. Some say we got no actionable results. All that we knew about the two who were part of al Qaeda, we got before the torture. The torture was to use to prove that Iraq was involved with 9/11. Obviously they never got that. So it was for nothing that we made ourselves into the same as the dictatorships that some find so much fault with. We were on our way to that kind of government and only our system worked to stop that but they were working on changing that too. I blame Cheney for most of this. I saw a piece that compared Cheney to Darth Vader but George Lucas said no, that Darth Vader was Bush. Cheney was the Emperor. I think we have to realize he's not gone and he's still trying to undermine yet another government. It's up to us as people to not let that happen. I could write a blog on how much this upsets me. Oh wait, I have *s* and likely will write more. I am just glad when I go around the blog to see others saying the same things and feeling the same way. It means we are not alone. Sometimes it feels like we are with the emails that swirl around and the right wing friends who feel they suddenly are in danger of fascism. Did they pay any any attention the last 8 years? Obviously not

10:51 AM  
Blogger joared said...

Throughout all these arguments about "torture," "not torture," since these actions first became known I've thought there was a real simple solution. I think if those leaders who sanctioned this behavior and others who determined it was "legal" could be subjected to the treatment they might alter their views.

3:06 AM  
Blogger J at said...

So very well said. This whole thing makes me sick, and the idea that *this* is who we are, as a people...that we would agree to such things. Then again, our history goes back and forth on this issue, and our actions never stand up to our words. I wonder if any nation's do?

I saw your comment on my mom's blog. (my mom is Maya's Granny) So kind of you to think of her today. I had a post ready to publish in June, but I published it today instead, in her honor.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheney and his gang made/make a real show of wanting to spread democracy far and wide. I'd rather not be responsible for spreading it if we are going to be justifying reprehensible actions in its name. Thanks, AQ, for putting it so well.

I wish that I lived up to my own ideals and expectations. It would make it so much easier for me to be more indignant. As humans, we struggle.
Cop Car

2:12 PM  

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