Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Truth and Non-Reconciliation

The report on torture of imprisoned terror suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency in the immediate period following 9/11 provided America with a chance to come clean on tactics it professed not to use and emerge from the darkness into a humbler and more hopeful place in the "international community." It's actually exposed the United States as a country that is adrift not only from the rest of the world but from its sense of self.  Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was right in releasing information of just how bad the CIA's torture tactics were, and I commend Senator John McCain (R-AZ), himself a victim of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, for denouncing the practices contained in the report.  Alas, too many people denounced the report.  Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), preparing to leave the Senate and delivering the Intelligence Committee's minority report, defended the CIA for getting information that saved lives in the battle against Islamic extremist commandos (although McCain correctly noted that it did not provide any useful information and intelligence), while former Vice President Dick Cheney said he would still instigate "enhanced interrogation techniques" if he could do it all over again.     
And George Walker Bush, who occupied the White House in that period?  Senator Feinstein noted that Bush was not told of the worst of the torture practices and so did not know how bad it actually was.  It's hard for me to call Bush a great American villain, like Dick Cheney is or like Richard Nixon was.  His ignorance of the dastardly deeds of his own administration only make him one of America's most pitiful clowns.
Ironically, even though this "enhanced interrogation" scandal is far worse than Watergate, the general consensus is that a war criminal like Cheney ought not to be prosecuted, so as to let the nation's wounds heal.  Even Gerald Ford wouldn't have pardoned anyone in this case.  The truth is out, but reconciliation has a long way to go.
Read John McCain's wise statement on torture here.         

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