Where is our moral authority?

I have to admit, I’m still shocked that people, fellow Americans, don’t get that torturing people is wrong.  They’ll squirm and wiggle away from using the word and invent bogus euphemisms (enhanced interrogations!), attempt to rationalize their beliefs (‘They’d do it to us!’) or ignore evidence that it does not produce credible intelligence to make themselves feel better but the bottom line is they do not have a moral problem with torturing another human being.

So this article in the Washington Post today is not surprising but it is still disturbing:

“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

And yet, there are still people in this country to adhere to the circular logic of the President and Vice-President:

President Bush and Vice President Cheney have said that interrogations never involved torture. “The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values,” Bush asserted on Sept. 6, 2006…”

Yes, ‘Americans don’t torture because it’s against the law and our values, therefore anything we do must be something other than torture.’

Can you imagine that line being used in other places?  ‘Your honor, my client couldn’t have murdered the victim because murder is against the law and our values.  Defense rests.’  Ah…an airtight case.

I’m not naive enough to believe that this outrage was the sole product of the current administration.  For every collaborator you need many more bystanders who do nothing even though they should know better.  This is how good people allow evil to flourish.

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