Normally if I let a link sit around this long before posting about it, I’d let it go, but this one is particularly important.
I don’t have much to add to this article by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, but I wanted to link to it because it’s important. US citizens who were tortured by the US military while they were in Iraq are suing Donald Rumsfeld personally for authorizing the violation of their Constitutional rights. Both cases have won on appeal against attorneys for Rumsfeld and for the US government, who have tried to have them dismissed for a variety of reasons.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am completely against torture and I define torture broadly. If you’re one of those people who believes that torture is OK as long as it’s reserved for the worst of the worst, what you must understand is that it never works that way. The “worst of the worst” gets defined down until everyone falls into that category. In this case, the people subjected to torture were whistleblowers who worked for the US government.
You might argue that’s obviously immoral and illegal, but nobody has ever been held accountable for their treatment. And that brings us to a sentence from her more recent article on Dick Cheney’s memoir:
By deciding to repudiate torture while doing everything in its power to protect the torturers, the Obama administration has succeeded in elevating not only Cheney but the idea that, in America, some torturers are too important to be punished.
Right now the only thing standing between the United States and a torture regime is the Obama administration’s promise that it will not torture detainees. That’s not nearly enough.
I’d strongly encourage you to read both articles. I’d argue that the second describes the cause of the effect described in the first.