In the past week, we've heard it all again. America is above "torture." The Bush administration should be brought before a "Truth Commission"--gotta say that causes me flashbacks of 1984 and/or Mao's Great Leap Forward. Nothing actionable was gained by enhanced interrogation techniques. They were used hundreds, thousands, millions of times against poor defenseless Muslims caught up in our anti-terrorist frenzy. And, Abu Ghraib was ordered/sanctioned/directed by the White House or Dick Cheney or the Pentagon.
The only thing missing from the fray is details and facts. They tend to get pesky. Now we've got this op-ed piece from someone who very clearly was in the know:
Drawing the Distinctions of Interrogations
I read the extracts from the memos released last week. I particularly focussed on the approved enhanced techniques. I also noted that the memos were prepared in the role of legal counsel asked to review the applicable laws and render an opinion on permissible limits for action when dealing with exceptional circumstances. I've always been under the impression that opinion on the law, even if later found incorrect, is not criminal.
The techniques looked an awful lot like stuff we've been doing to military aircrews and special ops folks for decades. Sleep deprivation, stress positions, loud music, time disorientation, slaps, small area confinement and, yes, waterboarding. Been there, done that. Survived it. Didn't like it one bit. Also didn't feel tortured. I've spent a few hours in conversation with Nam-POWs. They can tell you what torture is about.
I'm frankly getting very sick of pampered politicians who've never been in uniform, never been in the sights of an enemy gun, never been inconvenienced beyond being served an over-done steak at a Washington eatery, doing all this whining about torture being un-American.
Isn't it time for a reality check?