Looking back at my post dealing with the release of the Senate report on torture by the CIA against detainees in the so-called “War on Terror,” I came to realize that even though the article was powerful, there were some things I had neglected to say. So allow me a few paragraphs to vent the bile I have felt building inside of me since the report was released to the public on Tuesday, December 9.
I somehow feel that what I’m about to say will probably not change a thing at the end of the day. But it still needs to be said. It needs to be said–no, it needs to be shouted from the rooftops!–that torture is wrong in any circumstance. End of story. No exceptions. You may disagree with this idea, but reverse the logic and consider: If ISIS or Al Qaeda waterboards, uses electric shock, beats, starves, deprives of sleep, rectally force feeds an American captive, do you consider this to merely be “enhanced interrogation?” Torture is wrong. It has always been wrong. It will be wrong a thousand years from now if we do not manage to wipe each other off the face of the Earth because someone believes differently, speaks differently, looks differently. Can we not agree that despite our differences we are all children of God? Call Him God, call Him Allah, call Him Buddha, call Him any name that gives you comfort. But do we honestly believe that whatever name we give Him He wants us to hate one another? If so, then perhaps it is time you reexamine the faith to which you adhere.
Some on the Right were worried the declassification of the report would lead to widespread violence across the Middle East. Then perhaps their heroes, Bush and Cheney, should not have lit the fuse of this tinderbox by insisting on torture in the aftermath of September 11. Yes, I know over 3,000 people lost their lives on that day. So this gives us license to behave as barbarians? The actions of the CIA and their minions must be brought to the light of day, and we have every right, as taxpayers and Americans, to know exactly what was done in our name and with our money. They may never give us an apology, but we have damn well earned a right to the information.
Let’s get this on the table and say it with all the might we can muster: the CIA is a rogue agency that should be reigned in immediately. If we don’t, who is to say they won’t turn their tactics on us back here in the homeland? Do you doubt they are capable of it? To hear them tell it, they are just following orders and the will of their masters in the Executive Branch of government. But the CIA, it has also been proven over its infamous history, will lie at any time and under any circumstance to cover their asses. That is their job. It is what they do best.
My personal belief is that each and every person involved in the torture of detainees and POWs, from former President Bush to the lowest ranked man who did nothing more than hold a clipboard and take notes, should be charged with war crimes. If found guilty, they should be sentenced to extended terms in federal prison. By making an example of them, we would be sending an important message to future generations. The message: human beings are not expendable, and the ends do not justify the means. If we don’t, we will be setting ourselves up for more of the same, and we will soon become the very thing we say we most hate: the person who is unwilling to extend human decency and respect to all men and women; the terrorist.
And then we will have utterly lost our souls.