Guantanamo by Nadir’s Distorted Soul
Let’s make this torture debate absolutely clear:Â I’ve got cousins, a good friend and a nephew who are all in the military.Â If any of them was captured on the battlefield and tortured, I would want the lower level interrogators who committed the act to be prosecuted and convicted of war crimes.Â I would want the high level officials who authorized the use of illegal methods (not enhanced interrogation – TORTURE) to be prosecuted and convicted of war crimes.
This is not politics.Â This is justice.
As mainstream media talking heads like Joe Scarborough and John Meachum do their best to dissuade the public from demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder do the right thing, the rest of us should not lose sight of the principles that are supposed to beÂ the foundation of this nation: that all men – including alleged Islamic radicals, prisoners of war, members of Congress and US presidents – are ALL created equal, should enjoy the same rights and deserve the same punishment for their crimes.
How is this debatable?Â The law is the law, right?
Well, apparently not in the United States.This ridiculous notion that we were one country on September 10, 2001 and another the next day is exactly the rhetoric that caused many of us to accept a crippling war in Afghanistan, the trampling of our civil liberties with the PATRIOT Act, our government’s illegal surveillance of American citizens, and an illegal war of aggression in Iraq.
Here is the reality:Â On September 10 we were the nation that had overthrown governments in Iraq (1953), Guatemala (1954), Ghana (1966), Chile (1973), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989) and more.Â We were guilty of a host of covert and overt operations that forced other nations to accept US control or influence.Â There would have been no reason for President Gerald Ford to issue Executive Order 11905 in 1976 outlawing political assassination if we weren’t assassinating people.
If anything, the nation that we were on September 10 was the REASON for September 11 (no matter who orchestrated the attacks).
And this isn’t a question of whether the torture was effective or not.Â The fact that it may have prevented further attacks is irrelevant to the rule of law.Â If my cousin is tortured and gives away the location of his unit in Afghanistan causing attacks that result in the deaths of US troops, then this was obviously an effective use of torture.Â Does that make it RIGHT??
If torture is effective against accused terrorists, why don’t we allow police officers to use the technique when interrogating accused murderers, or accused crack dealers, or accused inside traders?Â Why wasn’t Martha Stewart subjected to torture?Â Is she special?Â Obviously.Â She was sent to a country club prison while other US convicts are stuffed into overcrowded and dehumanizing conditions.Â Apparently some of us are “more equal” than others.
The United States prosecuted Japanese torturers for waterboarding US soldiers.Â Why wouldn’t we prosecute US CIA agents and US officials for committing the same acts against our own POWs?Â Because hypocrisy is the American way.
The principles that are supposed to rule the United States have always been applied selectively in this nation.Â In 1776 all men were created equal except African slaves or indigenous peoples.Â Of course there was no pretense that women were created equal.Â In 1876 President Rutherford B. Hayes sold out the newly freed slaves for political expediency dooming Blacks to another 90 years of legal segregation and discrimination.
Politics and double-standards have ruled the United States for over 200 years.Â The so-called “rule of law” is not applied if you’re rich or in the United States government.
If President Barack Obama is supposed to signal a change in this country, if we are supposed to finally live up to the PROMISE of America, then now is the time to reverse this hypocrisy.
The U.S. Justice Department should order an investigation into the illegal torture of US detainees.Â There should be no limit to prosecutions from the top down.Â Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Nancy Pelosi, John Ashcroft, George Tenet, Jay Bibee – whoever was in the room and allowed these techniques to move forward should be held accountable.
If an enemy captured my nephew, the US marine, and tortured him, I want everyone responsible brought to justice.Â Why is my nephew any less or more important than someone else’s nephew?Â The answer: he isn’t.
Prosecute torturers NOW!
Read the Bush Administration memos that authorized torture HERE
Sign the ACLU’s petition demanding a special prosecutor HERE
AfterDowningStreet.org: Call for a Commission Would Wrongly Take the Pressure off the Push for Prosecutions
Mercury News: California group presses for impeachment of judge who wrote torture memo