Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We Have Met the Enemy

More and more I wonder what is happening to this country. I consider myself a patriot. I've dedicated my life to public service. I proudly represented the United States in the Peace Corps, teaching in rural Africa for two years, for free.

Over the last few weeks I've never been more disappointed in my country. We've now legalized torture and kangaroo courts, things that we blasted Saddam for doing.

In the tribunals for the "illegal combatants' we will allow coerced evidence gleaned from torture to be admitted. Prisoners can then be put to death.

The President exhorts time and again that "We don't torture," when in fact we do just that. I would say the inmates at Guantanmo are under the worst kind of torture, the kind that has no end.

In other situations, when a person is being tortured, at least there is some end, some finality, to look forward to: If the torture is for information then the person will finally break. If it to force someone to sign a confession the person will finally do so. If it is because the person is a POW you know the war will end at some point (even if it is just a bullet in the head).

For the inmates at Guantanmo, who have been imprisoned and tortured for more than four years now, there is no end. The war on terror is a war that can never end; any useful information that we have gleaned is now surely out of date; all prisoners have surely broken and signed confessions. Now it is just torture for torture's sake. No one deserves that.

Even if you disagree, what is all of this doing to our soldiers, our young men and women, ordered with carrying this torture out? To paraphrase MLK, torture as a tool always fails because it creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

And even if you don't care about that, you must acknowledge that torture makes our troops less safe. In the first Gulf War, and at the beginning of this second war in Iraq, enemy soldiers surrendered by the thousands because they knew they would be treated well by the United States. Now that we have legalized torture and kangaroo courts every enemy soldier that we face has no incentive to surrender. They will now fight to the death.

All in the name of protecting America. And yet more people than ever are now united against us.

In the name of protecting America we have surrendered our core values as Americans. What is left to protect?

Great article (lengthy, but well worth your time) in Rolling Stone about one prisoner in Guantanmo. He is Al Quaeda, captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan, after killing a Special Forces soldier. The worst of the worst, right? Read on...

1 comment:

Chimaobi Amutah said...

Very true. Jack Cafferty from CNN has a very concise, articulate, and honest take on this sad and hyprocritical situation the U.S. government has now put itself in.