So between the US national intelligence chief Mike McConnell admitting waterboarding would be torture and less then one month later, CIA director Michael Hayden admitting that the CIA waterboarded three detainees; I guess we can now all agree that the United States has tortured people.
If you haven’t yet, please pause reading here and read the two articles linked above… I’ll wait.
Regardless of whether or not you think this is justified or not, one must admit that this is indeed a sad day in American history. In the past, we could always say that in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave we stood for human rights. We stood up for what was morally right, not just what we could merely justify by current events.
Sure, US history isn’t perfect. Slavery, segregation, the treatment of Native Americans and women’s suffrage are just a few blights upon our country’s soul that we still struggle with. But with that struggle comes progress and hope. I think we all want to believe that while we may not of completely solved these historical failings, we have at least learned from them. We tried to move forward and make our nation and the world a better place for ourselves and future generations.
But how can we claim the moral backing when we stoop down to our enemy’s level and violate the very basic human rights our nation claims to be fighting for? We not only disparage ourselves, but also those before us that fought for the values for which our country is based. We can not claim that it is merely Bush or the Republican leadership which is to blame; in a republic the people are ultimately responsible. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I see no moral outrage- no crowds descending on D.C. demanding our leaders stand up for our values.
Not only do our leaders try to deny the evil of their actions with double-speak and thinly veiled denials; but our citizenry turns a blind eye as we vilify the terrorists who do the same sort of thing. As a nation, we are hypocrites of the worst sort.