Torture is a terrible thing. This is almost universally agreed upon. What is not universally agreed upon is whether or not sometimes it is necessary? There’s another example of the same quandary. War is a terrible thing. This is almost universally agreed upon. And yet it happens every single day in our world, and almost no person would believe with any real hope that there will ever come a time when things are any different. Is it necessary? Well, you could certainly make a Rodney King “Why can’t we all along?” argument that it is never really necessary, but most people understand that wars happen, and we hope that it will only happen when our country and peoples are threatened.
On September 12, 2001, if you had asked any American if they thought it was okay to torture people that might have information about another imminent attack of 9/11 magnitude , what do you think the poll results would have been? How many Americans really care about bin Laden’s cronies getting waterboarded in the Iraqi desert? The only time you really see Americans up in arms about torturing enemy combatants is when the issue is politicized. For example, right now any staunch Democrat just hates torture because George W. Bush allowed all this torturing of folks under his watch. It’s not about the torture, it’s about the politics. Now, if tomorrow a 9/11-like event claims the lives of thousands of Americans and we come to find out that we had someone chained up somewhere that probably knew all about it but we couldn’t get him to talk, will the court of public opinion still see it the same way?
Are there times and situations when torture is a necessary evil? Are there times when the possible danger to so many people supersedes all conventions? Does anyone believe for one second that our enemies are following the same procedures?
President Obama is doing some damage control before a Senate report comes out that will reveal that the CIA and military did indeed torture “some folks” after 9/11. A lot of Democrats are disappointed that Obama isn’t taking a harder line about this and demanding these people to be prosecuting for breaking not just American but international law. Obama actually defends the people, although not their actions. He points to the enormous amount of pressure and emotion that these people were working under in the aftermath of 9/11 and the possibility of a similar event in the near future.
Here’s something we don’t say too often…President Obama is absolutely right.
You can condemn torture, but to attempt to prosecute and punish people that were only doing what they were told to do would only be a whole different form of torture. It is nice to see that Obama is not using scapegoats. It drives the Democrats crazy because they see this is as a missed opportunity to run the Republicans through the mud. This is not us siding with or knocking the Democrats; the Republicans would happily have the same approach if the roles were reversed, and one day they will be. However, if you think Obama is just such a great leader that he realizes this is the right thing to do, you’re bat crazy. He’s smart enough to know that a little fallout from his political party affiliation is a lot better than dealing with the wrath of the Central Intelligence Agency and the shadow government that is in control of his marionette strings. You go rogue on these guys, and your next stop is the morgue. President Obama has a nice life of speaking engagements and being unbelievably rich. He is young and will get to enjoy this life for many years. There is absolutely no reason for him to stick his neck out on the chopping block, and he won’t be doing it here.
Most Americans probably could not care much less about whether a person that may or may not be a terrorist gets tortured in a safehouse or somewhere in the Middle East. If it saves just one American life one time, most Americans would say it was worth it. The real issue at stake is one that not many people think about. While we may appreciate that these torture events may have helped secure information from individuals that might have something to do with America remaining attack free all the way until the Boston Marathon tragedy last year, if we accept these tactics at our government’s highest levels, how long before it is turned back on us? When an American citizen has the towel on their face, do the rules and perceptions change? It’s something to think about.
Will there be a day in the future when another President stands in the same room and tells America “we tortured some of OUR folks?” It was wrong but he just have to move on.
It’s certainly makes you wonder.