The anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was just celebrated. It was a day of infamy that is seared into our collective consciousness for time immemorial. It was a day we celebrated the courage of the men and women who faced a surprise attack by the Japanese Empire.
As much as we are proud of our fellow Americans on that fateful day of a bygone era, we will have this day, December 9, 2014, memorialized for a different reason. The Senate report documents the sordid history of our use of torture on those we thought engineered the attack against America on 9/11.
Benjamin Franklin once stated, that if we are willing to sacrifice liberty for security we deserve neither. We left a stain on our historic legacy by stooping to the level of inhumanity that those who attacked us used when we made use of torture as a technique to obtain intelligence. By using torture you have neither gained security or secured your liberty but rather you have diminished your moral credibility.
Vengeance was our response. This is understandable but highly regrettable.
The report determined that there was no imminent danger, nothing to justify such a violation of human rights. NSA and the CIA acted like a shadow government. The CIA lied to Congress and they were not accountable to we the people.
One example of an interrogation led to the death of the person who was left hanging on a wall to die of hypothermia.
Senator McCain spoke today, December the 9th on how unreliable torture is. He suffered from being a prisoner of war by being tortured and he spoke about how our honor has been stained by our behavior.
Our military intelligence during World War II got good intelligence from proven interrogation techniques, not torture. There are international rules and laws regarding the proper conduct of the treatment of prisoners of war, and we violated them.
I grew up believing that we are the good guys with the white hats. I know we are not perfect and that emotions were raw after 3,000 of our fellow citizens died on 9/11. But we do not honor their memories by stooping to the immoral behavior of those we have sought out for justice in the Middle East. They have won if we change who we are as a nation. We need to once again stand for human rights.
We once prosecuted Nazi’s for their crimes against humanity. The last thing we want to do is to allow our own people to do the same as the Nazi’s did without consequences. We as a nation are better than the Cheney’s of the world.
At least we have brought the facts to the light of day. America has the capacity of self correcting and admitting our mistakes. We have admitted our mistakes in the treatment of the Japanese Americans who we put in internment camps during the war. It is to our credit that we have admitted our culpability in the treatment of prisoners during the aftermath of 9/11. The shame of it is that some of us have not admitted that torture should never be used. Just because others torture people in the world is not a justification for what was done to human beings. Our behavior is regulated by law and not be men who sought to impose their will over prisoners. We need to once again be known as a people who seek justice not only for our own people but for the peoples of the world. We can do no less.