Shameful Times

Let’s be clear: the US government’s use of torture did not end with the Bush Administration (nor did it start with the Bush Administration); it goes on today, with the approval of Barack Obama, codified and “legalized” in official manuals. The public portions of these documents approve practices that any sane and humane person would classify as torture; however, as Obama’s own Director of National Intelligence testified to Congress, they also contain secret sections on other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which remain classified.

And yet here we are, having a national “debate” on whether or not torture “works” — as if its efficacy, not its inherent, shameful evil, is the main point. Obama has now sent his CIA Director out to defend “enhanced interrogation,” saying it “works,” and “saves lives.” Of course this isn’t true; armies of experts — and years of evidence — tell us that torture doesn’t work; it produces garbage intelligence which wastes time and resources. But what if it did “work”? So what? You know what else would “work”? Taking the child of a “terrorist suspect” and shooting him or her in the head, then telling the suspect you’ll kill another of his children unless he talks. Why don’t we do that as well, if it “works”? It is the exact same logic now being used by the Obama Administration and by all torture-lovers in the old Bush Gang who are all over the airwaves defending the commission of evil acts because they supposedly “work.”

It is hard to believe that America has reached this point, where torture is openly defended by the highest figures in the land, where Americans quiver in fear and happily give up their freedoms and their long-held ideals, their loudly professed morals, and let their government do anything — torture, drone-bomb villages and wedding parties, invade countries on false pretexts, strip-search its own citizens in airports, spy on their every communication, on and on — while the people stand by whimpering, “Do anything, anything you want, commit any crime, take away any liberty, but please please please keep us safe! We’re so scared!” This is what our big rough-tough John Wayne true-blue Americans have come to: a nation of mean-spirited cowards. To think that we have come so far, gone through so much, only to come to this. It’s a shameful, shameful time we live in.

About Chris Floyd

Tennessee. Moscow. Oxford.
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