Tuesday, November 14, 2006

At least we are holding the high ground

Torture Bed
Originally uploaded by kookystar.
Well, not really, but it looks good as a headline. ;-)

This from the Washington Post and the pen of Dan Eggen:
After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

But CIA lawyers say the documents -- memos from President Bush and the Justice Department -- are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public.

The disclosures by the CIA general counsel's office came in a letter Friday to attorneys for the ACLU. The group had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking records related to U.S. interrogation and detention policies.
But, I'm comforted by the report that even though these documents are not able to be released because they are so sensitive that, as has been widely discussed by senior members of the current administration, the United States does not use torture.

Commenting late last month, as widely reported in the press, the President reiterated that "that the United States does not torture prisoners, commenting after Vice President Dick Cheney embraced the suggestion that a dunk in water might be useful to get terrorist suspects to talk."

I feel better already, having heard the President make the claim We don't torture, we don't condone torture, we don't do torture. Oh, that's right, the President didn't use those exact words; that was Tony Snow, the White House spokesman.

So, cutting to the chase, here, what do we have? As I see it, here's where we stand:
  • The President personally authorized the establishment of secret detention facilities outside the United States so that what went on within those walls would not be subject to public scrutiny, Congressional oversight, the law of the land, or our Constitution.
  • Our Congress has passed legislation allowing the President to ignore international law.
  • The United States continue to hold detainees incognito, not even acknowledging we hold them.
  • Members of the Executive Branch continue to hide information about our interrogation techniques under the guise of national security, and yet whenever new information comes to light, it often counters whatever has publicly been said.
  • The United States can no longer claim the moral high ground, if it ever could, and it will be years before we'll have even the slightest bit of credibility to say what is morally right or morally wrong.
  • The issue of fighting terror is not as black and white as "good vs. evil" as some senior officials are wont to say.
And all that is just for starters...

But, hell, at least we don't torture, eh?

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