“We must always consider,” John F. Kennedy said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill—the eyes of all people are upon us. Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us—and our governments, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill — constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.”
I am also reminded of Ben Franklin’s statement, “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
A few hundred pages into the Senate report on CIA torture and I am disgusted, outraged and shocked at the methods that were used to “gather intelligence” from detainees who had not be charged or convicted of any terrorism related charge. I became more offended when I heard that former Vice President Dick Cheney had told the The New York Times that the criticism was “a bunch of hooey” and that former President Bush had told CNN that the men and women who carried out the interrogation were “patriots.”
I have posted some snippets of the tactics and actions of the CIA that have been posted on other news websites, while I take my own screenshots for the article I will write over the next few days. Read through the snippets… your stomach will churn with bile, your mind will reel with the images of people having this done to them and you will want to vomit. Then, understand that the summary report is only 500-odd pages of a 6,700 document that will probably never be made public.
The news is just starting to trickle out to the world and as it spreads, so will the anger in other countries. Not just the Muslim ones, where there will be immense anger, but those countries who are considered allies by the United States, partners in the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those countries are just starting to get and digest the news that is emerging.
I am not talking to Americans as a whole. I am talking to those who stood in support of torture, those who today are still standing in support of torture, in the face of all the details that have been released. I am talking to the government that empowered the CIA to use these methods as an acceptable practice, a necessary means to an end and a cost of war.
If this is the measure of a nation’s morality, you have failed. You are no longer the “shining city on a hill,” as Ronald Reagan said. You have sunk to the level of the despot dictators, brutal crime bosses and drug lords who use these methods to extract revenge from their enemies, not gather intelligence. There once was a time when you were the world’s policeman.
These are the things that the War Crimes Tribunals were originally setup to prosecute – crimes so heinous to humanity that no single nation could be trusted to prosecute those who committed them.
I am sure that Dick Cheney and the other Conservative talking heads are making their rounds on television and radio programs in the US repeating their statements of justification, as they have over the past decade, for the use of torture. I just would like to ask them one question – if this was your son/daughter, brother/sister, husband/wife, father/mother, or anyone else related to you or that you knew, would it still be an acceptable method to gather intelligence by ANY other country in the world?
I do not stand in defense of those who wronged the world with their crimes against humanity in the form of terrorism, but I also will not stand in defense of those who used it as an excuse to be more barbaric to their enemy than any other country in wartime. Neither should you.