Thursday, October 04, 2007
"If We Don’t Do This, People Will Die" And...
The consistent theme to justify war crimes in the war on terror is "If We Don’t Do This, People Will Die". This is flawed logic, because torturing people results in tainted intelligence which can not be trusted. How many people have died because of the false intelligence tortured out of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, in which he told his interrogators that Saddam Hussein was allied with Al Qaeda? This administration has overturned over 200 years of American policy regarding prisoners, in the name of our safety, and everyone agrees the methods do not give us good intelligence anyway. But for the sake of argument let us accept the "people will die" logic. Just think of our nations past and ask this question: Is America really in more danger at this point than we ever have been in our entire history?
The founding of America was from a war fought on our soil, in which the very existence of this nation was the issue at stake. The colonists faced the greatest military power of the day, and the issue was very much in doubt for several grueling years. American cities were sacked, the land ravaged by invading armies and the forces fighting for our nationhood were routinely beaten by the British. Yet facing the ultimate crisis, with The United States of America's very existence being the issue at hand, George Washington enforced a humane policy on British prisoners. Even though Washington knew that Patriots were rotting in British prison ships in some of the worst conditions imaginable, being routinely murdered and abused, he declined to treat British prisoners in like manner. Using the logic of the Bush administration, how many lives were lost because Washington didn't torture intelligence out of those prisoners? Who knows... What we do know is the example Washington provided, and which this nation officially sanctioned until President Bush set us on the path tread by the monsters of human history.
If we don't do this, people will die, and we will keep our American ideals.
What of the threat to American lives represented by the Axis powers in WWII? Americans died by the thousands in some of those battles, but did our leaders ever authorize our military to torture captives in order to get the intelligence which would save lives? Prior to this administration the very thought of our President sanctioning the torture of captives, for whatever reason, would have been unimaginable. It is the other side which does that: We prosecuted Japanese officers for waterboarding captives, and when they were found guilty they were given the death penalty. We prosecuted Germans for using enhanced interrogation techniques against non uniformed "terrorists". Those Nazi defendants used the same justifications we hear now forwarded by this administration. I for one am positively mortified that the best legal minds of this administration justify staining American honor by invoking the same logic used by the Nazi's.
If we don't do this, people will die, and we will affirm our national heritage.
If we actually believe that torturing prisoners leads to good intelligence, (again, this is just for the sake of argument) then all the people who have died in our nations history because our leaders would not condone torturing captives have had their sacrifice lessened by the Bush administration. If torture works, thousands of patriots died upholding American ideals on human dignity. They gave the last full measure of devotion to our national honor . They gave their lives rather than taking the easy road of torturing their enemies in the name of saving themselves. What greater sacrifice can there be on the altar of a just and humane cause? How dare this failure of a President desecrate these fallen by staining our national honor and heritage with torture. There is no going back on this. No matter how much we may decry it, the fact will always remain that American leaders have authorized torture.
If we don't do this, people will die, and we will keep our honor.
Consider the giants of American history who guided this nation through peril and calamity all the while striving to keep our moral bearing based upon principles of freedom and humanity. Contrast those past leaders with the current President who has proven wrong on so many occasions, and ask yourself who this nation was better served by? George Bush or George Washington. George Bush or Abraham Lincoln. George Bush or Franklin Roosevelt. The answer in each case is clear. How dare this President toss aside our ideals in secrecy, coating his apostasy with lies and platitudes. What this President has done to our national heritage and honor can not be forgiven.
How about this for logic? If we don't do this, we won't go to jail! These are war crimes, and if this nation is to begin cleansing the stain we must bring those responsible for the travesty to justice. Will that ever happen? Probably not. But if we don't do this, we will allow the worst President in our nations history to fundamentally alter our national character.
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