Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Did I Feel A Draft?

In what will surely turn out to be the largest case of CYA in recent memory, the destroyed CIA torture tapes are continuing to make headlines. As each agency proceeds to cover their respective butts, the question of torture will continue to go unanswered. It has become the giant elephant in the room that no one talks about inside the beltway, while outside the beltway it is a heated topic. Here we have another instance of the electorate and the elected being disconnected. But do we really? Are the majority of Americans against torture? I know that on many blogs there is never a shortage of commentators who advocate the use of torture and these are not wing-nut blogs, but so-called progressive sites. There are also mainstream political candidates who have advocated the use of torture. We seem to be a nation torn on this issue and that speaks volumes about who we have become.

“There is never any justification for destroying materials that any reasonable person would believe might be requested in a civil or criminal proceeding,” said Mr. Remes, of the law firm Covington & Burling. “The C.I.A. had every reason to believe the videotapes would be relevant down the road.”[1]

I beg to differ with Mr. Remes, but yes there is a justification for destroying evidence if you have been involved in illegal activities. It happens all the time and with the impotence of the current Congress it will probably go unpunished. Anyone remember the Justice Department subpoenas, the Dick Cheney missing emails, or how about that undercover CIA agent leak? I would not be surprised if there were still copies of these tapes floating around in Langley somewhere, probably being used for training purposes. I read these articles and it makes me sick, the MSM refuses to call the procedure of waterboarding torture. They say things like according to the critics it is considered torture. I say we take all the editorial boards and subject them to a little waterboarding and see if their views will remain the same.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we as a nation are moving more and more towards fascism. There are now stories being released about how torture has actually saved the lives of Americans, how convenient that these anonymous sources have chosen now to leak this information. In what is being referred to as an “unpleasant procedure”, the source says while he was not involved in the act, it was effective. Well, no sh*t. Here is the problem, I am not opposed to torture because it works or it doesn’t works. That should not even be an issue. I am opposed to torture because it is wrong, both ethically and morally. We can argue from now on as to the effectiveness of it, the fact they we are even having the conversation is what should be troubling to those of us still a part of the human race despite 9/11. Someone help me here; did 9/11 remove our obligations to the rest of humanity? Did it give us a license to torture, maim, and kill without regards to the victim’s humanity. If it did, then God help us.

Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubayda gave up valuable information after being waterboarded, a former CIA agent involved in other parts of his interrogation told CNN today. John Kiriakou said he did not want to perform the "entirely unpleasant" procedure branded by critics as torture, but added it brought results that stopped attacks and saved lives.

Despite the executive blessing, Kiriakou and other agents were conflicted over whether to learn the technique, he said.

"One senior officer said to me that this is something you really have to think deeply about," the former agent said, adding he "struggled with it morally."

Kiriakou conceded his position might be hypocritical and said that the technique was useful -- even if he wanted to distance himself from it. [2]

We are perched on a slippery slope and I hope that we are aware of the consequences of the decisions we are making. This isn’t about stopping terrorist attacks. If you have a determined person who is willing to commit suicide there is no defense against it, even with isolation, torture, and preemptive war. Our becoming fascist will not keep us safe; it will only isolate us more from the rest of the world. We now have an Attorney General who never had to give an opinion on torture, confirmed by the Senate. It’s like everyone wants to divorce themselves from it, like Mr. Kiriakou and yet we want the results. I’m sorry we can’t have it both ways, either we are torturers of our fellow human beings or we are not. A black man just got 23 months for torturing dogs and we torture humans with little more than a whimper.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/11/washington/11intel.html?pagewanted=2&hp
[2] http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/11/agent.tapes/index.html

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