April 19, 2009

Why we should prosecute torturers

From a counter-terror expertand SERE trainer:
Now, at long last, six years of denials can now be swept aside, and we can say definitively: America engaged in torture and legalized it through paperwork.

Despite all the gyrations - the ducking, dodging and hiding from the facts - there is no way to say that these people were not authorizing torture. Worse yet, they seem to have not cared a wit that these techniques came from the actual manuals of communist, fascist and totalitarian torturers. It is now clear how clearly - how coldly - Bush's lawyers could authorize individual techniques from past torture chambers, claim they came from the safe SERE program, and not even wet their beds at night. That many U.S. service members over the years have died as a result of these same techniques was never considered.


If it were aimed at a U.S. Pilot, soldier or diplomat, I have no doubt all those defending the Bush Administration now would label these tactics torture. At SERE, I learned and taught that breaking the prisoner for compliance and instilling "learned helplessness" was our enemies' terminal learning objective.
And, as Sullivan reminded us today, many conservatives have cheered this all on. Deroy Murdock, for example, asserted in the NRO in 2007:
Waterboarding is something of which every American should be proud.

Sadly, Obama appears to want to move past this. Why? I am not sure. Perhaps he believes that such prosecutions will cost him valuable political capital when he is trying to fix the economy and healthcare. Perhaps he recognizes the full outcry that the idiots at Fox will pull out. Hell, they are talking about tyranny for a 3% tax increase (and a tax cut for the rest of us). Imagine what Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck would pull out if Obama prosecuted Al Gonzales.

This week is a very busy one for me. But I am going to try to sit down and write a handwritten letter to the Obama Administration urging prosecution for these crimes. America is better than torturers and sadists. We should goddamn well act like it.

Write a letter. Make a phone call to key Senators.

We are better than this.

1 comment:

steves said...

I have some mixed feelings about the whole thing. As much as I think it what happened was wrong and criminal, I am not sure it would ultimately be the best thing for the US to open up this can of worms at this time. This post on Volokh (including links to other posts) goes over some pragmatic reasons why we will probably never see any prosecutions.