Game Changer

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.

Full story here.

2 thoughts on “Game Changer”

  1. There was an excellent article about this very idea in the Nation today.

    It’s entitled, ‘Why the New Torture Defense Is a Good Defense’ and it discusses the complicity of the general public towards the Bush Administration’s policy on torture and argues that if the ‘public supports something, then it is not illegal.’

    There are morals and then there are laws. They are not the same. With regards to the question of the torture that occured in Guantanamo Bay, we may discover that it was legal, but as a human being, I am outraged that such a lapse in morality could be sanctioned as such and that the perpetrators of these moral crimes may never face justice.

  2. Amen to prosecution… what gets me the most is that it seems that most people respond to this story with “meh”. I think you probably already read his blog, but in my opinion, Andrew Sullivan has written the most eloquent and clear-headed responses to all of this. EVERYONE should read Andrew Sullivan.

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