Torture In America....Do We or Don't We? The Answer May Surprise You.
Torture vs Morality.....Yours, Mine, Ours or Theirs!
Is it just me or does anyone else think there must be something in the water, or the air, that is causing, arguably intelligent, people to act like fools. Now we are going to, again, eviscerate ourselves publicly with another politically motivated investigation. Once again our enemies will be so pleased.
Those with the power, this time, have decided that in order to save our country, again, this investigation must be done. They will argue that it is not for their own political gain ,nay, but for something that transcends politics and personal gain. The ideals and morality of the American people and yes even the USA itself are at stake here. That is why this must be done right? How could there be a more noble cause, for our politicians, than saving our country from those evildoers right? I'm sure there motives are pure.....no really!
Haven't we heard this type of rhetoric before..hmm.... let me think. Oh yes I remember now wasn't this same argument used by the Democrats against Reagan during Iran-Contra? And didn't they also use it against Bush claiming his constitutional powers to wage war without a formal declaration was...well unconstitutional?. And didn't the Republicans spend almost 8 full years investigating Bill Clinton on Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky and any other thing they could think of. and when the Democrats regained control of the house and senate didn't they turn their "Moral Authority" on George W Bush's policies with hearing after hearing especially on Iraq, Afghanistan and of course we won't mention the two elections Bush "stole" from the Democrats...........I mean the American People. Does anybody else see any kind of pattern emerging here?
These people, our so call representatives, do this for a living. It doesn't matter what party they belong to. Every administration has to fend off the politicos. The question is do YOU want to be part of this foolishness or is it time we demand these people get to work dealing with the problems of this country. Oh wait. how foolish could I be expecting politicians to put the country above their own self interests. People it is time to wake up and stop drinking the same water or breathing the same air that these people do.
A political investigation is not about the findings of right and wrong with the goal of identifying problems with the system or the people who work within it and dealing with any problems found. A political investigation is undertaken with the unexpressed, but primary, goal of scoring political points with the electorate and gaining political advantage and assigning blame ,of course, to the opposing party. The members, in congress, all know what happened with some of the terrorists and said nothing. It wasn't until the press stories began to circulate that some members spoke out against the policy. The country found out that some captives were being subject to what was referred to "enhanced interrogation techniques". There was concern on a part of the people but we were assured that these techniques, while unpleasant, were not life threatening and that explanation was , for the most part, accepted by the public. Some politicians ,sensing political advantage, began to make an issue of this subject. Their goal was pushing their own self interest and ideology regardless of the potential harm to the nation. To his credit President Obama sent the message to all that he was "choosing to look forward not backwards". Even he underestimated the power of the extremists.
If the citizens of The United States decide that torture is unacceptable then they have the right to that choice and the power to demand our representatives act accordingly. If someone violates those wishes they do so in full knowledge that there could be serious consequences for them. But don't you think that we, as a nation, should first decide what we believe torture to be? For some of the more shrill out there the fact that we have not agreed on a definition is rather an important point.... don't you think?
The dictionary defines "torture" as follows. [Infliction or subjection to extreme physical pain. Great mental suffering; agony. Something that causes severe pain. To inflict extreme pain upon as from cruelty] This definition seems fairly straightforward but it is open to a narrow or broad interpretation and this is where the problems, of definition, become never ending. What you consider torture and what I consider torture may not be one and the same. Who is right?
As an example does the mere threat of using a power drill to extract information from a prisoner equate to actually using that power drill on that same prisoner. Do these acts constitute equal torture? While they are very different approaches they both could fall under the broad definition of torture. How , and who, decides where the line is? By it's very nature torture is a legal, political and moral issue. It's definition is and will be an extremely difficult decision. While the Supreme court will ultimately decide the constitutionally of our resolution to this problem we must as a nation and as a people make that ultimate decision.
To most of us torture is not a place we would willing go to as a nation. We are uncomfortable by it's implication and what long lasting effects it could have on us as a people. We are a defender of human rights and freedom around the globe and we will speak out against tyrants and dictators who treat their own people by standards we disagree with. We love our freedoms and our sincere wish is that all people have a chance to experience what we have. . America is a generous nation but our generosity and our freedoms, while longed for by peoples throughout the world, are also feared. They are feared by regimes and despots who cling to power by the force of their cruelty towards their own people. They are terrified that our freedom and ideals will somehow resonate with their citizens and their own power will be jeopardized by more people seeking freedom. For these reasons, in their minds, America and its freedom must be destroyed, or the very least contained, so these despots can insulate their populations against the dangerous ideas America champions.America has very powerful enemies and we must always be vigilant in her defense.
America is at risk not from what she has done but for what she represents.
Freedom and liberty are, still, dangerous concepts to many who would harm us. While we have made many mistakes both honest and dumb usually our intentions, if not our morals, were at the time honorable. We have sometimes allowed our arrogance to cloud our judgment in dealing with foreign policy but again usually our goals were laudable even if our methods were stupid.
When vital information is required to save lives or our very way of life is threatened how far will or should we go? If a prisoner has information that if acted upon will save American lives is it right to extract the information by any means possible to save those lives? Who decides and how is that decision to be made. We task the CIA with developing intelligence that will prove useful and help give us an edge over our enemies. What if that information must be extracted through some kind of force? And what if we determine the legality of such action only to have a different political viewpoint determine otherwise whenever it is convenient. By politicizing this issue we could be sowing the seeds of our own downfall. Our enemies will be following and watching closely. Do you really want to leave this subject with all it's ramifications and moral issues to political whimsy and to politicians concerned only with their own self serving agendas .
We started this piece with the question "What Constitutes Torture" To be honest-- I don't know ..........do you? If you believe, like many do, that torture under any circumstance can never be justified how far will you go to support that belief? What if your son or daughter was on patrol in Afghanistan and a terrorist we had just captured had information on a potential surprise attack on your son or daughters unit. Would you want everything done to get the information and save your child or is your child's life not worth compromising your principles? Interesting dilemma isn't it. Is the human rights of a terrorist worth more that the right to life of your family member or yourself? What if we could have gained information though torture and used that information to stop the terrorists from flying those aircraft into the twin towers saving the 3000 lost lives from 9-11 should we do it? Would you?
So now we are going to have a political witch hunt to determine how bad we are and who must be punished. We are going to drag this country through the mud.....again.... just to make a political point. Instead of being concerned with the concept of torture, which needs defining, and where the line should or should not be. Are we going to allow these self serving politicians and bureaucrats to insult this nation once again. No wonder our enemies laugh at our foolishness. Just think when the Republicans regain power again they will pick their favorite bugaboo and investigate the Democrats and the cycle will, again repeat itself. Are you not getting a little tired of this behavior on behalf of the people we elect to represents us?
Torture---first we have to define it then we have to determine if it will be useful as a tool to protect our citizens, our military and our country. Our enemies will be watching.