The torture debate may be a classic example of the old magician’s “sleight of hand” routine. Watch what I’m doing over here in my right hand, while the actual trick is happening in my left.
Osama Bin Laden clearly stated the reason for Muslim hatred was the American presence in Muslim nations. Infidels on Muslim soil. Our mere physical presence has generated new legions of fighters and suicide bombers. In addition, the knowledge of American torture of Arabs and Afghanis is one of the best recruiting tools our enemies have.
And Arabs and Afghanis have made us pay dearly. The American occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to over 5,000 US military deaths, and tens of thousands of horrible injuries and disabilities.
But, knowing the clear reasons for Arab anger, the American military and intelligence agencies still use torture…just like always.
The various American intelligence agencies, both military and non-military…you know, the “three initials” agencies like CIA, FBI, NSA, etc…have been capturing people and using “enhanced interrogation” techniques since their inception. The American populace simply doesn’t know much about their history.
Why did the Bush Administration make a decision that they would disclose to the world that they had captured “enemy combatants?” They went further and disclosed that they had moved them to locations around the world, outside of the reach of American law. Then they started talking about “renditions,” and various forms of torture like sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, electric shock and simulated drowning, otherwise known as “waterboarding.”(I refuse to disinfect and redefine the act of simulated drowning.)
Could it be to create a diversion?
Torture is the least of the many crimes that the American Federal Government has perpetuated over the last 150-plus years. Yet, while the American media trots out this story continually over months and years…even though it deserves the ink…it obscures the greater crimes done by the American Federal Government.
Greater atrocities are ignored while the feigned outrage in this country is largely focused on this single crime.
Here is a short list of atrocities performed by the US Federal Government:
• Theft of land from native Americans from sea to shining sea
• Abrogation of all treaties between the American government and Indian nations
• Murder and genocide of native American tribes
• The Civil War
• Internment of American citizens of Japanese origin at the beginning of WWII, and confiscation of their assets
• Atomic weapons used against civilian targets at Nagasaki and Hiroshima
• Overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and theft of the Hawaiian Islands
• The enactment of the individual income tax
• Attempted overthrow of Fidel Castro
• Ruby Ridge murders by FBI
• Branch Davidian massacre, Waco, TX
• Overthrow of other governments like Chile and most Central American nations
• Use of Depleted Uranium ordnance in Iraq, rendering the entire country radioactive and lethal, causing illness and horrific birth defects
• The Patriot Act
• The Department of Homeland Security
The American government has not strayed from its high principles. It does not possess any high principles. It simply had a moment of hubris mixed with indiscretion when it disclosed that it uses torture. It could have been a diversionary tactic, but I doubt it. The government is pretty sure that it can get away with anything because it does not fear its citizens. And why would it?
President Obama has not repudiated the use of torture with his actions, only with his words. He is simply returning the system to the secrecy that it enjoyed for the last 60 years. He encourages America to look forward, not backward, which in essence guarantees the status quo and immunity from prosecution for the torturers and the politicians who ordered it.
Don’t get any weird idea that America is special, God’s chosen nation to bring freedom to the world. The mass perception of American citizens is not reality. It is not that “city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan called it. Every king, potentate, Caesar, Czar, or Emperor throughout human history has committed mind-numbing atrocities on the populations they wished to subdue, conquer and plunder.
Including their own people.
Get some perspective, America. Torture is heinous, but your government is doing a lot worse things than torture. Save your anger and outrage for the really bad stuff.