“24” is just TV

24 04 2009

Not particularly high-quality TV, either (IMO).

I’m assuming that everyone has now seen or heard about the White House releasing declassified CIA reports regarding so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”.  You may also heard the President say that he wasn’t interested in prosecuting those responsible for conducting this torture, on the grounds that those men and women were “just following orders”.

Let us not mince words, people. Everyone involved in this, from the lowest pay-grade grunt performing waterboarding to the former President, needs to be brought before a court of law to answer for this series of crimes. “I was just following orders” is not now and must never be an acceptable defense for committing atrocities. When I wore my country’s uniform, we were told from day one that we are not required to obey illegal orders. Furthermore, we were always told that we had a duty to refuse to obey any order in violation of US law or the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.  There is no fucking excuse for this sort of behavior.Torturing prisoners is always wrong. Period. Full stop.

Many people- especially those associated with the previous administration’s decisions regarding torture- have been claiming that violating US and international law was worthwhile because we learned about upcoming terrorist actions and thereby saved the lives of Americans and our allies. I’ve heard several people ask, “What would you do if the option was torture a terorist or allow one of your loved ones to be killed?” The implication being that torture is somehow a lesser evil- the ends justify the means.

I’m not buying it. My answer to the hypothetical question is, I would do whatever it took to extract the information which would save my loved one’s life, and then I would expect- I would demand– to be arrested and tried for my crime. If the men and women who willingly reduced themselves to the same level of barbarism as our enemies are so sure their actions were noble and patriotic, they should willingly submit themselves to judicial review for their crimes. Anything less is tacit admission of guilt.

If we resort to using our enemies’ methods, how are we any different from them? If we lower ourselves to their level, we run the risk of becoming what we- as a nation- despise: a brutal, swaggering bully, convinced that might makes right.

You become what you fight against very easily. Doing the right thing is hard.

President Obama, I call on you to convene a military tribunal to judge those responsible for these outrages against justice and the American character. If the military tribunal finds sufficient evidence that crimes were committed, everyone involved in these abuses should be turned over to the Hague under charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We are supposed to be the Good Guys. Shouldn’t we start acting like it?

Current status: sick

Current music: Song for America by Kansas

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One response

24 04 2009
Foxwood

Let’s go surfin’ now
Everybody’s learnin’ how
Do some waterboardin’ with me!

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