Thursday, December 11, 2014

Grieving in the aftermath of the CIA torture report

The report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, the so-called "torture report," confirms a suspicion that many have had all along: the extent of the abuses perpetrated by CIA operatives was greater than previously known, and included techniques much more heinous than the (heinous enough) water-boarding.

I'm sick at heart, not only by the contents of the report, but also and more so by the reaction to it from many of my fellow citizens. Some random quotes from people with whom I've engaged on the topic:
  • "I feel no compassion for those animals."
  • "I will NEVER second guess or criticize those who put their lives on the line to keep all of us safe."
  • "When it comes to terrorists there are NO Christian values for them. We don't use Christian values on Muslim terrorists who want to kill all our people in the name of Ala [sic]." 
How easily cast aside, those little angels we've created to comfort ourselves! Matthew 5:39, the Geneva Convention, the Golden Rule --meaningless platitudes, one and all. People! Can't you see that torture debases not only the victims, but the perpetrators? It dehumanizes them. It makes them beasts.

Fear does ugly things to people. And people have been justifying atrocities in the name of God for thousands of years. There's nothing new in it. But to see it unfold before my own eyes... oh, America! I grieve!

Foolishly I'd hoped that at this point in life I might have endured most of my disillusionment. This report, and the reaction to it, exposes that sentiment as naive.

So I'll say this: for my part, I advocate prosecution of all perpetrators of torture, regardless of their nationality or faith and no matter the justifications they put forth. But the apologist voices (most of them, the very people who regularly complain that the United States has strayed from its "Christian values") ensure that that will never happen.

And I'll still allow myself one hope: the hope that I will never condone torture. To do otherwise would be to relinquish my humanity and I won't do it!

I pray I have the strength to live up to that conviction.


Unknown said...

Thank you for your heartfelt and grieving commentary. Somehow the defenders of torture remind me of those individuals who convinced themselves so many years ago that "it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." (John 11:50 NIV) Back then it was also fear that justified our actions, and it was the most "devout" among us who insisted the loudest.

Anonymous said...

The cooked up, bullshit report was another blame America moment. The problem, despite the dispicable lies of Frankenstein, was that there was a treasure trove of information brought forth from the terrorist filth. If it saved one American life, one breath of one of OUR fellow citizens it was well worth it!

Every former director of the CIA, especially Pannetta, reports the report as COMPLETE BULLSHIT. Even the sitting chief knows it was all bull shit.
Sadly, you, and the rest of the Elizabeth Warren fools of the world, bought the bullshit hook, line and sinker. You never miss a chance to kick America, while embracing those who would cut your throat if given the chance. It's just plain sad.