Monday, December 05, 2016

Torture is still wrong


At this strange moment in the GOPer/Trump regime trajectory, we're deluged in proposed Hail Marys -- frantic efforts to use small surviving levers of power to mitigate or combat the shit show we clearly see coming.

And we've just seen a victory. The Army Corps of Engineers decision to halt the DAPL atrocity (at least for now) is heartening; it seems improbable that it could have been won under the new Bigly Bossman who evidently is invested in the pipeline. This intervention required people to offer up their bodies for the love of land and water. May their courage inspire us all. The First People know sometimes there is no alternative to courage.

Then there are all the far less probable interventions that seem to exist primarily in fantasy land -- among these I include calls for "faithless electors" to vote against their states' verdicts and that vanity candidate Jill Stein's recount boondoggle. These look to me to be counterproductive, serving the GOPer/Trump meme that elections are rigged against their aggrieved constituents. We need to prop up the legitimacy of democratic (small "d") institutions and outcomes, not join our enemies in undermining them. Or so I think.

And yet, for all my skepticism about the blizzard of proposed Hail Marys, I do want to promote one which might help us hold back the emerging barbarism. It is offered by one of our brave young crop of Constitutional lawyers who have pushed back against the "war on terror," Cori Crider. Writing in Newsweek, she suggests:

Obama Can Stop a Trump Return to Torture by Releasing Abuse Files
Many accuse President Obama of priming America to backslide on torture. By discouraging torture prosecutions—by telling Americans to “look forward as opposed to looking backwards”—he took torture not only off the prosecutor’s desk, but out of our dinner-table debates. His White House carried bucketfuls of water for the CIA, abetting its effort to obstruct (and minimize) the Senate’s devastating torture report. Preferring peace with the CIA, President Obama never bothered to secure Americans’ political will against a return to torture.

... Is the die cast? Obama cannot unmake those choices now. But there is one thing he can still do—one move that might lead America, as it stands on the brink of its next torture program, to think twice. He could declassify some of the thousands of torture photos and videos—from Abu Ghraib, secret CIA prisons, and Guantánamo Bay—that have yet to emerge.

We haven’t even seen the worst of it. The CIA retains up to 14,000 unpublished blacksite photographs, including nude pictures of detainees, “blindfolded, bound, and show[ing] visible bruises,” with CIA officers in shot. Other still-secret photos (from seven separate prisons—not just Abu Ghraib) apparently depict: “U.S. troops posing for “trophy” photos with dead bodies; others, with rifles and pistols held to live detainees’ heads. (At least one soldier serving in Afghanistan tried to excuse his actions by saying he was “joking”; another called the pictures “something cool to remember our time there.”) A third soldier described a different photograph depicting her “as if [she] was sticking the end of a broom stick into the rectum of a restrained detainee.”

Americans need to see this. A collective look at this horror is our best chance of pricking the national conscience before impressionable young soldiers serve in an administration that has promised to make them do it all over again. ...

Hey, the oh-so-proper and correct Diane Feinstein could even make herself useful at the end of a long career of ignoring the impolite desires of her constituents. Leak the Senate Torture Report, Diane. You are in your 80s -- you are not going to live forever, so you might as well go down swinging ...

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

I wish the DAPL were going to be rerouted. The government isn't going to stop the builders and they have said they will ignore the edict.

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