Thursday, November 05, 2009

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse...

Truly I am not. Especially since the horse really isn't dead here. Although Gitmo will likely be closed conditions at Bahgram Airbase in Afghanistan are said to be business as usual (i.e. brutal).

But it is very important to look at the faces of those we unlawfully detained and tortured. It's important to listen to these guys. It is important to learn from this mistake. I am all for getting terrorists. But somewhere along the line here we monumentally fucked up and picked up these guys. And we KEPT them. For YEARS. We also tortured them. Now, one could argue that our torture wasn't as bad as other countries torture. Perhaps so. But it's still torture. And of course, there are those who died while in our custody. Those who committed suicide when they lost all hope of ever being free.

One could argue that there are always innocent casualties in war. One might argue that the ends justified the means. That through this treatment, we managed to keep America safe. But most reports I have read seem to indicate that this isn't the case. Most seasoned interrogators have stated that torture is not effective. So why did we do it? Did we, as a nation, go mad? I think so. And in this blind rage, in this quest to punish we ignored the core of what makes this country truly great. As always, I appreciate your thoughts.

1 comment:

grim said...

I have had some small discussions with an active Marine about these kinds of things. I get a few answers, but nothing that makes me happy.

The first concept is the classic "you can't handle the truth" line. There are horrifyingly bad people who would be harming you right now if it weren't for the constant battle against them.

Sadly, this has at least some truth to it, and yet, it has some flaws.

The first is: Why do they hate us? People generally don't hate specific peoples without reason. Arguably, we have muddled around in certain foreign lands long enough to make enemies. Perhaps they just generally despise our ideology, but then why do they single us out from others who espouse similar ideals. It would seem that we have cast the first stone here.

The second flaw is the greatest casualty caused by our response. One might argue many possible candidates for this title, but I would put forward that the compromise of our dearest truths is the greatest casualty, as this is the source of unmeasurable misery now and in the future. We have gazed at the slippery slope, and willingly begun our descent, and I for one believe that the price is too high.

I believe that it is better to let 9 criminals roam free, no matter how heinous their crimes, than to imprison 1 innocent man. Our founding fathers agreed, and so we (unlike so many before and even now) are innocent until proven guilty. We have betrayed our own ideals for a temporary victory. We have lowered ourselves in a way not easily rescinded. We have sold our souls for a crust of bread while sitting at a laden table.

Perhaps I am wrong about this. Perhaps it is true that sometimes expediency trumps truths. Perhaps I can't handle this truth.

But it seems to me that if I must compromise my most sacred ideals in exchange for the opportunity to follow the exhortation of our previous president, and "go out to the malls and shop," that the price is too high.

I enjoy my comforts, but not at the price of freedom and basic rights, my own, or that of any human.