Enhanced Interrogation Techniques?...Oh, you mean Torture!
April 24, 2009
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.