Five and a half years ago I became a parent, and everything
changed. I became a role model to my son
and it became my job to set the example.
It became my job to show him right from wrong, to set the rules, and not
only enforce them but to also follow them.
I learned that if I expected my son to do the right thing I had to do
the right thing as well. I also taught
my son that we must do what’s right, even if no one knows we are doing it but
us. That is what being a moral person is
all about. It’s about setting the
example, about keeping your word, and about being a good person. And if we do something wrong and don’t get
caught, that does not make it right. But
that is exactly what we did. We stood up to the rest of the world and said
torture is wrong. We told the world that
you must abide by the Geneva Convention.
We promised to agree to Article 3 of the Geneva Convention which states:
“The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any
time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:
(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all
kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
(b) Taking of hostages;
(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular,
humiliating and degrading treatment.”
And we said to the world, you must abide as well. As a country the U.S. of A. claimed to set the
moral standard. We tried to be policeman
to the world. We stood up high on a pedestal and said you must do the right
thing, you must be good, and you must keep your word. Then we came down from
that pedestal and did exactly what we told the world they can not do. We humiliated, degraded, and tortured. Why, because we were wronged and we were
going to do what ever we had to, to get the information that we wanted no
matter the cost. Because somehow, someway the Bush administration had to create
a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Husain in order to justify the
invasion of Iraq . But we
forgot one thing. We made a
promise. And not only did we make a
promise but we held the world up to the same standard. Was it right what was done to us? Was it right for two airliners to be flown
into the Twin Towers ?
Was it right for members of al-Qaeda to chop off the heads of innocent
civilians and broadcast it to the world?
No it was not. It was cruel, it was disgusting, and it was horrific! But nowhere in the Geneva Convention does it
say that you can not torture, unless someone does something really, really bad
to you first.
Some argue that if we did not do this we never would have
obtained the information that we did. In
an November 2007 article from the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/08/AR2007110802150.html)
“Malcolm Wrightson Nance, a counterterrorism specialist who taught at the
Navy's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school in California,
likened waterboarding to drowning and said those who experience it will say or
do anything to make it stop, rendering the information they give nearly
useless.” Useless…Useless…Let me say
that again, Useless. The use of
waterboarding by the CIA with the approval of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Rove, and
others yet to be named, makes any information that we received from any
prisoner of war...useless. We may have
gotten some truthful information but because these techniques were used we will
never know for sure. If these techniques
were used by a policeman to obtain a confession to a murder, that confession
would be thrown out of court simply because of how the confession was obtained.
The Washington Post article also said
that of waterboarding “that such a method was never intended for use by U.S.
interrogators because it is a relic of abusive totalitarian governments.” Waterboarding is a torture technique that was
used by totalitarian governments such as North Korea, Iraq, The former Soviet
Union, Imperial Japan, and last but certainly not least Nazi Germany. And now we can include The United States of
America to that list of nations. That is
a club I never dreamed my country would be a part of. Instead of taking the high road and setting
the example and being a leader by using legal techniques of interrogation that
adheres to the Geneva Conventions, we took the low road, acted illegally, and
immorally to obtain the information we wanted.
We stooped down to the terrorist’s level and became the terrorist as
well. And once again we showed the world
that we can not be trusted. How can we
now uphold the rest of the world to the standards of the Geneva Convention when
we can not uphold those standards ourselves?
We are better then this and it is time that we start acting like it.
Do we blame President Obama for letting the cat out of the
bag? Remember, the Washington Post
article was printed in November of 2007.
The cat was already out of the bag.
Arizona Republican Trent Franks said at hearings that were held November
8th 2007, while President Bush was still in office that Khalid Sheik
Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding while in CIA custody. This is old news people. President Obama is not to blame for letting
the world know what we were doing wrong.
Instead for the first time, at least in my 42 year life time, we have a
president that is willing to do what needs to be done, even though it may not
be the popular thing to do. President Obama has shown us time and time again
that it is time for us to take responsibility and do what is right, to lead
through example, to not only set the rules but also to follow them. It’s about setting the example, about
keeping your word, and about being a good person. And if we do something wrong and don’t get
caught, that does not make it right…just like I tell my son.