Monday, May 11, 2009

More on Torture

Dick Cheney has come out strongly in favor of what the world considers torture -- he favors a whole slate of "methods" euphemistically known as "enhanced interrogation techniques". These "techniques" are now irrevocably identified with our nation. They had the American Presidential Seal of Approval, and if we had it once, we could have it again. Cheney says that we need these "tools" at our disposal for extreme emergencies; that we only waterboarded a few times.

We have now established that Cheney is the "bad apple" of the "bad apple theory" that still has scapegoat grunt Charles Graner in the brig. Charles Graner and his pyramid pile of naked Iraqis were a long way from Dick Cheney, but there is a direct path from one to the other. We know now from what we've learned about Gitmo and AbuGhraib that an extreme culture of cruel and degrading treatment of other human beings existed in our armed services. I submit that you cannot have one without the other. To have such behavior condoned by the President and the Vice President, despite the advice of men actually educated and experienced in warfare, is to give a wink and a nod to the spread of cruelty downwards. Look at what has occurred and tell me otherwise.

I respect President Obama, and I wonder what he's really thinking about all this, and where they are strategically. Dick Cheney is making a case in the minds of our least educated and most fearful populace that torture/cruelty as a way of doing things is right and lawful and even Christian, and as long as he isn't held accountable in some way there will be a meaningful, even shocking percentage of Americans who think he's right. He must be disgraced so that his belief system is not allowed to stand. I have read too much commentary from the general population in favor of what the rest of the world thinks of as torture, and I hold Cheney as responsible for that. I am hopeful that the natural workings of Law in this country will bring him to account, but I am far, far from certain.

Next door to me lives a Veteran from WWII, and he's disgusted by accounts of waterboarding, etc. "We didn't do any of that," he told me once. They were the heroes! They even treated the enemy decently. What has happened to us? Which "U.S." do we prefer to be? I know my answer. I would like to see the leaders of the past administration discredited in their vigorous defense of ugly, dehumanizing methods. "Do unto others" is one phrase that springs to mind. Does Cheney go to church and call himself a Christian? He shouldn't -- he's a hypocrite. He really is our Darth Vader, and I want his speaking platform taken from him. He doesn't deserve to be speaking as an authority, as he is corrupt and without empathy for the suffering of others. Furthermore, his attempts to undermine the current administration are contemptible. He has gone far beyond the pale, and I would like to see his belief system judged -- say by a collection of his peers -- 12 would do. We MUST define ourselves as Americans in this new Millenium -- who we are and what we aspire to. There should be no forgotten prisoners rotting away in foreign lands -- never again.