I’ll admit that, like a lot of Americans, I’ve been hesitant to become outraged on the topic of torture. Mostly I’ve been watching to see how it will shake out. And then I read this statement released yesterday, from former U.S. Army psychiatrist at Guantanamo Bay, Maj. Charles Burney:
“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
OK now I’m outraged. We weren’t just torturing detainees and enemy combatants for information, we were torturing them under false pretenses to prove the nonexistent al Qaida/Iraq link, the link that the Bush administration touted as justification for war. For a long time I’ve thought the torture issue was small potatoes compared to the crime of declaring an unjust war. Now it turns out we’ve knowingly tortured people to support our pre-existing conclusion? We literally beat people into submission to prove an Iraq/al Qaida link?
This freaks me out. I knew the Bush administration were shady and vile, but I honestly did not think they were truly Evil. They wanted a war, so they beat people into saying things to justify it. Somebody has to prosecute this.