Friday, April 17, 2009

Truth and Justice Not the American Way

I am extremely disappointed in the way Obama and his Justice Dept. are evading responsibility for upholding the law when it comes to concrete evidence of torture being planned and committed by our government. I want to retain hope. It is early in his term yet. He is a smart man. Maybe he is biding his time, building an ironclad case... I want to believe he couldn't possibly justify to himself a refusal to hold criminals accountable. But I fear that he is susceptible to the corrupting influence of power.

Andrew Sullivan had a great article on this subject today. Referring to some of the memos released yesterday he says:

The core point of this, one infers from the memos, is to create a sense among the prisoners that their assumptions about the West, the US, and countries constructed on the rule of law are without any basis whatever. The torture techniques were all the more brutal in order to push back against the reputation of the US even in the minds of Qaeda or alleged Qaeda members. What Mukasey and Hayden are arguing for today is a scheme whereby, in secret, the US government credibly allows captives to believe they are in an endless, bottomless pit of extra-legal terror. This is the state of mind they are trying to construct by torture. That's the point of the sensory deprivation, the disappearances, the sequestering from the Red Cross, the endless solitary confinement, the IRFing, the hoods, the nudity, and all the other sadism. It is precisely to persuade the barbarians that we are as bad as they are and have no limits and no qualms in doing to them whatever we want.

Looked at from a distance, the Bush administration wanted to do two things at once: to declare to the world that freedom is on the march, and human rights are coming to the world with American help, while simultaneously declaring to captives that the US has no interest in the law, human rights, accountability, transparency or humanity. They wanted to give hope to all the oppressed of the planet, while surgically banishing all hope from the prisoners they captured and tortured. And the only way they could pull this off is by the total secrecy they constructed and defended. So we had a public government respectful of the rule of law, and a secret government whose main goal was persuading terror suspects that there was no rule of law at all. It is hard to convey just how dangerous this was and is.

The height of hypocrisy. We are white-washed sepulchres. Nothing but rot and decay wrapped in a veneer of truth and justice.


Jodie said...

"The height of hypocrisy. We are white-washed sepulchres. Nothing but rot and decay wrapped in a veneer of truth and justice. "

And we knew it all along.

If we become like our enemy in order to defeat our enemy, we have already lost.

In previous blogs how many times did our Republican and Fundamentalist brothers defend the Bush administration in the face of the mounting evidence of Bush sanctioned torture?

But look at what was not done. There is no mention of excusing the authors of these policies.

Put that in the context of your previous comments on the Spanish court indictments. These released papers are the evidence they needed. Eventually it will go to the Hague.

And, eventually, the precedent of Nuremberg will stand.

Doug Hagler said...

Who was it that said we, as a civilization, should be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable? To matter, all the talk about freedom and justice means nothing as long as we keep torturing people in secret prisons. When we catch someone we hate, and they can't possibly fight back, can't possibly defend themselves, have no recourse by law...that is when we prove, beyond doubt, who we really are.

Aric Clark said...

I hope you're right Jodie.

I know you're right Doug.

And no matter how you look at it we are all in the wrong.

Steve Schuler said...

Have you read Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness", the classic novel that inspired the classic film "Apocalypse Now"?

"Throughout the novel Conrad dramatizes the tension in Marlow between the restraint of civilization and the savagery of barbarism. The darkness and amorality which Kurtz exemplifies is argued to be the reality of the human condition, upon which illusory moral structures are draped by civilization."- Wikipedia

"The horror, the horror..."-Kurtz final words