Torture is immoral, illegal and irreconcilable with this nation’s most cherished values. If defenders of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program disagree, they should come out and say so. Instead, they blow smoke.That is the opening paragraph of Here’s an emotional response to the torture report: I’m outraged, Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson's column for Tuesday's Washington Post
It is as powerful as anything Robinson has ever written, as should be clear from the opening words.
After quoting Diane Feinstein saying that she had instructed the committee staff to let the facts speak for themselves, he responds simply
Those facts, from what we know so far, are appalling.He notes the committee vote to release the report was 11-3, and this is, for your interest, on a committee whose membership includes 8 Democrats and 6 Republicans.
Robinson notes that major portions of the report may never be declassified, and then writes
Forgive me for getting emotional, but this is an outrage.Or perhaps we should put it as we used to see on this site, Never in Our Names.
It was Justice Louis D. Brandeis who remarked that “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Torture is a stain on this nation’s honor that can be bleached away only by full exposure. Feinstein’s committee spent years finding out what really happened. I should have a right to know what my government did in my name.
Please keep reading.
Robinson reminds us that a man whom the CIA waterboarded more than 80 times probably gave up his useful information to an FBI interrogator before he was ever waterboarded.
He posits for sake of argument that someone in custody gives up a piece of useful information after being waterboarded 37 times - does that mean we should waterboard him another 37? Can we even say we could not have gotten the same information with no waterboarding? He says advocates of torture cannot answer definitively that we could not.
Robinson then writes
This is an argument about worldviews, not about facts, and it ignores the heart of the matter. The reason to fully examine the CIA’s torture program isn’t that it was ineffective. It’s that it was immoral.And of course, it was also illegal under US Law and international conventions which we have ratified., and remember - according to Article VI a ratified treaty is consider part of the supreme law of the land.
Jose Rodriguez, who directed the program for the CIA and who ordered the destruction of the tapes made of the CIA interrogations, clearly must have been worried about what those tapes would show.
That's what Robinson writes.
Perhaps there is another reason - it would be what the tapes would NOT show - any usable and/or meaningful intelligence as a result of the clearly demonstrated violation of US and international law, and of a principle established by George Washington who prohibited the torture of prisoners in the hands of his army.
Then there are also those others who may have participated. As Robinson writes,
Among many unanswered questions, I want to know whether trained medical personnel — physicians, psychologists — attended the torture sessions. I’m sure the relevant professional associations and licensing boards would like to know as well.Except we already know that parts of the enhanced interrogation techniques were designed by people who had run the SERE program (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) program to which combat pilots and others were exposed as part of their training. These were mental health professionals, and issues were raised about stripping them of their credentials.
Robinson is outraged.
He wants the report released.
I do not think he goes far enough.
If this kind of practice is acceptable for Americans, done in our names by our government, then I am not sure I want to be an American.
Democracies should not torture - anyone, anyplace, anytime.
There are some lines that simply should not be crossed.
These are crimes against humanity.
Our refusal to hold those who did it to account makes those giving them a free keep out of jail card as culpable themselves.
And yes, that includes Leon Panetta as Director of Central Intelligence.
It includes Eric Holder as Attorney General.
And it most definitely includes Barack Obama, during whose presidency those who committed these horrid crimes were allowed to walk away from responsibility for their evil.
Outraged is simply not a strong enough word.
It needs to be accompanied - by shame, disgust, horror...
We can start with outrage.
But unless we demand accountability, it can and will happen again.
And then our shame will be compounded.
What American Exceptionalism is this?
Read the Robinson.
I feel no peace . . . .