Thursday, February 16, 2006

Torturers R Us?

By Cassandra D

Okay. Anybody else out there feel like they've gotten a bad case of learned helplessness when it comes to our government, illegal imprisonment and torture?

The additional photos from Abu Ghraib (as if the first ones weren't enough) are a reminder of our unfinished business. Frontline's story revealing that torture methods began at Guantanamo and spread to Abu Ghraib and all over Iraq gives the lie to the idea that a few bad apples were to blame. And even if it were so, is 10 years in prison for a low level soldier all that is warranted?

I don't want to hear from people saying the old line, "We are just torturing terrorists and they deserve it." We know that a lot of people at Abu Ghraib didn't belong there. And I don't want to hear about how we are so superior because, after all, we aren't beheading people, and how sexual humiliation and false imprisonment aren't really such a big deal in comparison.

Didn't we use to hold ourselves to a much higher standard than that?

Amnesty International says all Americans share responsibility for torture done in our name and are obligated to act. I agree, but what can we really do?

We take heart that John McCain gets his "torture amendment" passed, against the Administration's wishes, but the rug is pulled out from under us when we learn that the President issued a "signing statement" that basically says he won't follow the ban.

And we learn that our government knows it is imprisoning people at Guantanamo who aren't threats to the US, and people around the world see the injustice, even our allies.

Here is an absolutely disgusting example of injustice perpetrated in our names at Gitmo.

So, what's our attention span this time? Will we dismiss the horrified and indignant anger from Muslims at the latest Abu Ghraib photos as simply more lunacy from the anti-cartoon crowd? Will we even notice, what with "Desperate Housewives," Tricky Dick Cheney, and the Olympics to distract us?

Is it really learned helplessness, or did we never really care that much anyway?


At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Dr. Pants said...

Oh, dear, sweet, supple Cassandra -- you're living in a "pre-9/11" world. We HAVE to torture now. We HAVE to become dirtier and meaner than our enemies, in order to win, even if the cost of that victory is America becoming synonymous with the torture and human rights violations that got us into Iraq in the first place.

But...wait. Didn't we start Iraq AFTER 9/11? Why are we fighting so hard against Saddam if we're so determined to be just like him?


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