Release of torture report an absolute necessity

We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”

— Former President George W. Bush,
anticipating the release of a Senate report
on the use of torture by the CIA

————————————–

“Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”

— 18 U.S. Code § 2340A

———————————–

AbuGhraibQuibble all you want, but we tortured people, probably a lot of them, brutally and over a long period of time. Some of those we tortured were probably completely innocent, and we probably killed a few in the process, although the soon-to-be released report from the Senate Intelligence Committee will provide more details on all that and more.

And again, quibble all you want about the clear language of the law above or about the supposed rationales for indulging in torture. It all comes down to the fact that we tortured because we were scared.  We let the terrorists win. We lacked the courage of our convictions, and we let them frighten us into abandoning what we knew to be right, even though the threat that we faced and continue to face from terrorists is far less grave than the threat we faced during World War II or even the Cold War.

We let ourselves be frightened into shaming ourselves, our country and its traditions, and even worse, our leaders were willing, eager co-conspirators in that fear-mongering. Rather than reassure us, they dialed the fear upward because that gave them more freedom to do what they wanted, up to and including a disastrous invasion of Iraq.

A lot of people are going to be angry about the release of the Senate report, and it is likely to cause us a lot of problems overseas. That’s deeply unfortunate, but the problem isn’t the revelation that such behavior occurred. The problem is that the behavior occurred in the first place. The revelation is just the beginning of taking responsibility for it.

We have a choice and always have a choice: We can merely pretend to be the shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan used to describe us as, and we can get angry at those who dare to expose that as pretense. Or we can actually try to live up to that goal, and to get angry at those who cause us to fall short and try to do better. In that regard, the most reassuring aspect of this entire scandal is that maybe, in the end and through stubborn leadership from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others, we will indeed acknowledge the truth of most of what happened. That’s a start.

We’re also going to learn that the outrages at Abu Ghraib, which President Bush publicly denounced at the time as “abhorrent”  and claimed do “not represent the America that I know,” did in fact represent the America that he knew. In fact, those outrages were almost trivial compared to the practices that his administration secretly condoned and even advocated, often over the principled objections of military officials.

It’s important to remember that we sent 11 low-ranking enlisted personnel to prison for what happened at Abu Ghraib. While Bush still celebrates those who did far worse as patriots and heroes, we used those 11 as scapegoats, citing their punishment as proof that Americans did not practice or tolerate such evil. No one of high rank was prosecuted. Years later, no doubt bothered by that discrepancy, the high-ranking U.S. military officer assigned to investigate the Abu Ghraib scandal would come clean, publicly accusing the U.S. government of implementing “a systematic regime of torture.”

“Our national honor is stained by the indignity and inhumane treatment these men received from their captors,” Major Gen. Antonio Taguba wrote, concluding that “the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

That was in 2008, and it is only now, six years later, that we are getting anything close to a public accounting of what happened.

However — and despite the clear language in the law above — I continue to argue against prosecution of those who carried out or authorized such torture. We all knew, or at least had grounds to know, that agents of the U.S. government were engaging in and abetting torture in our name, yet through those years, we as a nation allowed it to continue anyway.  There was no great groundswell of outrage against it. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzalez — yes, they each played major roles, but the nation as a whole was complicit, and I think it would be wrong to now attempt to purge our collective conscience by identifying and punishing another group of scapegoats, no matter how responsible they may be.

As Taguba noted, this will be a stain on our national honor, and it ought to be. We chickened out, that’s just the truth. When the test came, we chickened out.

 

Reader Comments 0

545 comments
LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

DIA writes (regarding the August, 2011 downing of a Chinook helicopter carrying some members of SEAL TEAM 6 that might have been involved in Bin Ladens assassination): 

'IF the truth means anything to you...keep looking.  Biden publically exposed them.  30 men were executed because of his comments.'

Another lie and a complete absence of integrity.

Peachs
Peachs

@LordHelpUs 

If the truth means anything to you, exactly why wouldn't the truth mean anything to me? It explains so much of our life. We can pretend we have a plan that works like the state of Georgia and finish last in every measurable way or we can continue living this lie and do exactly what got us there. In the end it doesn’t really matter if you convince me ,or the world, of a lie, the truth doesn’t not change, it is not spun or bought, or manipulated. It is what it is.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

How all you Marquess of Queensberries doin' today?

Still early, but have you found new reasons to hate America yet?

TBS
TBS

@Philo_Farnsworth


You must be vying for top Drama Queen status.

How cute.

Haven't seen you on FNM lately.


bwhhaahahaha

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

My contributions got Jay mad at me so I choose not to participate.

But thanks for asking.

TBS
TBS

@Philo_Farnsworth


LOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!

You mean you knowingly posted childish political comments on a thread not meant for politics

Got ya and you are most certainly welcome

JamVet
JamVet

@Philo_Farnsworth 

Writes the Bundy-worshipping GOP addict who has yet to write one post about what he loves about this country!

EVER.

Hell, the kid has never written one positive thing about the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Every post, every day is the same - our system of laws suck, our Constitution sucks, the people suck, the ferriners suck, the Moozlims suck, everybody and everything sucks but his beloved Republican party and his neo-Nazi politics!


Yet he loves Jews!


LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!

And like that racist old parasite, the newly named troll sho do luv wrapping himself up in Old Glory as though that makes up for his hatred for our nation. 

Carry on, would be secessionist, traitor and  faketriot... 

JamVet
JamVet

@TBS @Philo_Farnsworth 

TBS, regarding the flag-draped trash being tossed into the dumpster during FNM, I can't remember his name before he changed it to Fido_Fullofsh!t, but his music is as awful as his politics.


Seriously.


He has posted a very few songs over they years, and surprise! They all sucked...

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Jay Bookman writes:

 While Bush still celebrates those who did far worse as patriots and heroes, we used those 11 as scapegoats, citing their punishment as proof that Americans did not practice or tolerate such evil.

Jay Bookman also writes:

If no charges are filed by either local or federal prosecutors, does that mean that the protests and controversy surrounding the Brown killing were all for naught or even unjustified? No, it absolutely does not. Brown’s killing and law enforcement’s behavior in its aftermath .... sparked a confrontation in Ferguson precisely because conditions there were already so ripe for it.

It makes one wonder what Jay thinks of practicing or tolerating perfidious behavior month-to-month, how resolute he is on this notion, and whether he believes that violent, angry mobs can be driven by an evil spirit tolerated all too much by leftist excuse-making columnists.  Like so much leftist lying rationale, "violence for me," says Bookman, "but not for thee."

Only the rest of us are supposed to be better than that.   

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@stands_for_decibels Well, when you make statements that abortion is good because it eliminates "marginal" children, you don't really expect that to be on HuffPo or Mother Jones, huh?

Paul42
Paul42

@stands_for_decibels

The utter lack of thought who accept those articles as written never ceases to amaze.  That piece was like saying that a doctor who documents the effects of a pandemic on the nations' food supply advocates killing sick people to free up food for others.

The more I think about it, the more I think conservatives had it right when they misrepresented what Gruber said.....


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Paul42 @stands_for_decibels

The utter lack of thought who accept those articles as written never ceases to amaze.

Yeah, like for example what DiA just swallowed wholesale and repeated nine minutes prior to your post.

It's pretty startling, coming from people who really should know better.

TBS
TBS

@stands_for_decibels @Paul42


Well when someone uses birther.com (breitbart) as one of their main source of info that says more than they know or would admit if they did know. 

And we wont even go into the so-called evidence of the radical Moolems crossing the Mexican border "prayer rug" (Adidas shirt) story.  

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

Interesting...the GOP supporters that tried to convince us that everything from Lewinsky to Benghazi is worth bringing the country to a standstill, investigating a hundred times over, litigating over multiple years, etc...

...doesn't think state-sanctioned torture is something we need to worry our pointy little heads about.

Priorities out of whack much?

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Missed this at publication, but Agree mostly with Jay. 


Name Names. Point Fingers.  Who did what and why?  


We, as a nation, should be outraged that torture was done in our name.  No matter the party, no matter the way an administration leans, torture is not a tactic to be used in modern civil society. 

We should hold ourselves to the highest standard.  And we should be outraged that our government let this happen or pushed this to happen. 


Repeal the Patriot Act, restore liberties to the people. Stop spying on every item on the internet. Stop tracking every single call in the world.  We should not live in a society where every item anyone does is watched by the government. 

straker
straker

Jay, even if I had known exactly what the CIA was doing, my chances of stopping it would have been about the same as my chances of stopping these Ferguson and other cities protests.


So, stop trying to lay a guilt trip on me and most other ordinary Americans.

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@straker The libs on here refuse to admit that the techniques accomplished saving even one life, but, don't have a problem with endangering many lives by releasing this report.  As long as it fits their left wing agenda, nothing else really matters.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@DownInAlbany @LordHelpUs @DebbieDoRight @tireOfIt @straker BS, you just doubled down on a lie.

Or, you could show your supposed truth.

I looked up quite a few articles and RW rags speculating about what MIGHT have happened (as if the whole world did NOT already know that ST6 was involved in Bin Ladens assassination) is all I could find.

No integrity...You and AAS make a cute couple...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 January when the adults take over both houses of Congress. 


Adults?


We don’t want to see a further push with Agenda 21, where the Agenda 21 and the government telling us that these are the urban centers that you will live in; these are the ways that you will travel to other urban centers. Agenda 21 encompasses so many different aspects of our lives that it’s taking away our individual liberties, our freedoms as United States citizens. So I would adamantly oppose Agenda 21. I don’t believe it is responsible, not for United States citizens.

--the newest "Grown Up" elected Senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst

Normd
Normd

BOW, I think you are lying...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

"Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country."


--some Real Emotional Bed-Wetting Librul type

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

The king of flip flops: 

Late on Thanksgiving eve, with no one paying attention, the Obama administration released its regulatory road map of thousands of regulations for 2015.

Within the bundle of more than 3,000 regulations lies a rule on ozone that President Obama himself in 2011 “put on ice” in effort to reduce “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover.” Regarding the 2011 decision that shocked environmental groups, the New York Times recently stated: “At the time, Mr. Obama said the regulation would impose too severe a burden on industry and local governments at a time of economic distress.”

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

I hate to spoil the little liberal party going on here, but now let's hear The Truth from old broken-down Bill up here in Young Harris. The FACT is that enhanced interrogation techniques are what put hundreds of jihadists away or killed. Enhanced interrogation techniques are what eventually put us on the path to victory in Iraq as we rightfully implemented Democracy in what was once a dictatorship! Enhanced interrogation techniques, The Surge, an investment in military equipment and boots on the ground in Iraq LED TO THE CAPTURE AND SUPPOSED KILLING OF USAMA BIN LADEN!!!!!!! THANK YOU PRESIDENT BUSH THANK YOU PRESIDENT BUSH THANK YOU PRESIDENT BUSH THANK YOU PRESIDENT BUSH!!!!!! 


To suggest that the men who properly used enhanced interrogation techniques broke any type of law is sickening! If any of you think that anyone good man in the CIA is a crook, then YOU ARE COMMITTING TREASON, pure and simple. If we had a real man in The Oval Office, then you would be rightly dealt with on a speedy basis.


What part of this don't you naive secular progressive liberals get? GOOD NIGHT!


Amen,

Bill

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@Bill OrvisWhite Old Bill puts on a very cost effective version of Republican black face.  He just sticks his head up Bush's rear end, pulls it out and Voila!

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@Bill OrvisWhite torture, finally getting around to not trying to do the war on the cheap finally got things stabilized enough so we could get the hell out of there.


enhanced interrogation techniques = torture. the whole entire set up was torture - from start to finish. it was designed that way by your favorite communists. 

kitty72
kitty72

@Bill OrvisWhite  How upset would you be of our enemies tortured our troops? I would suspect very upset...that makes you a hypocrite and a traitor for wishing that on them by condoning torture.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

"These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”


Cry me a river, W. You signed off on this; and you knew full well that this nation would be run like a police state when you put a sadistic lunatic like Cheney in charge of the Hard Work.

Normd
Normd

Re-reading Jay's essay, the last sentence struck me most profoundly...

"As Taguba noted, this will be a stain on our national honor, and it ought to be. We chickened out, that’s just the truth. When the test came, we chickened out."

Yes we did.  The America I knew and fought for would never have stooped so low.  Not much to be proud of here.  I say it again..."Violence (torture) is the last refuge of the incompetent."  Period.