"When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line," Obama said. "And that needs to be ... understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don't do it again in the future."It's good to finally hear the truth.
Speaking the truth is the first step. What was missing from Obama's speech was the next step - righting the wrong.
And that isn't the only thing that is missing from this speech.
Let's get one thing very clear:
torture is against the law.
It isn't just the 8th Amendment banning cruel and unusual punishment.
It's also part of the U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The U.S. ratified this treaty, thus making it a legally binding document in the United States.
Article 4The government is legally bound to punish those who committed torture. It isn't just a moral duty. It is a legal one too.
1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences
under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture
and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in
2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate
penalties which take into account their grave nature.
One interesting part of this treaty is this part:
No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.Which makes the rendition program also illegal.
According to the United States War Crimes Act of 1996 it is a crime for any U.S. national to engage in torture. There is no statute of limitations on this act. The penalty may be life imprisonment or — if a single prisoner dies due to torture — death.
The President is duty-bound to uphold the laws of the United States.
He took an oath.
By failing to uphold the law he is breaking his oath and should resign from office.
That's not a political opinion. It's the law. Instead President Obama had the nerve to lecture the American people.
“It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job those folks had,” he added.Tough jobs! Are you f*cking kidding me?!
They were torturing people you son of a b*tch! Are you so f*cking out of touch with reality that you not realize what that means?!?
We hung people after WWII for doing this sh*t.
Still think that torture is no big deal and not punishing the torturers is OK? Then check out the terror watchlist criteria.
It's both political and moral cowardice. That moral cowardice is especially obvious in the news media.
Even President Obama's blunt declaration on Friday that the United States "tortured some folks" in the years after the 9/11 attacks was not enough to get many of the country's top media outlets to abandon their practice of euphemistically referring to torture as something else.
President Obama has stated his opinion of our history of torturing people:
"nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past"
Which means that no one will be punished for breaking the law and committing crimes against humanity.
Obama's Justice Department has ruled out prosecutions for torture, even in cases that involved death.
In fact, the only person I am aware of that has seen the inside of a prison cell for CIA torture is former CIA analyst John Kiriakou, currently serving 30 months in prison for revealing the name of a CIA operative, while blowing the whistle on CIA torture.
Not punishing the lawbreakers means not only that we aren't righting a wrong. It also means that they are free to torture again.
In fact, it viturally guarantees that more people will be tortured in the future the next time it is politically expedient.
And it doesn't stop here. The report goes on to say that the torture was unecessary.
(Reuters) - A U.S. Senate committee report will conclude that the CIA's use of harsh interrogation after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks yielded no critical intelligence on terrorist plots that could not have been obtained through non-coercive methods, U.S. officials familiar with the document said.A useless, as well as illegal and morally repugnant exercise.
But it was only bad guys who got tortured, right? Wrong.
90% of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were innocent, according to Commander Janis Karpinski.
Many of those at Guantanamo were also innocent, according to Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson.Military files show this to be true.
The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how … many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.So we tortured innocent people for no purpose and now we will break the law by not enforcing the law. So who's going to stand up and defend this?
"But it is also part of another story of which we can be proud," adds the document, which was circulating this week among White House officials and which the White House accidentally emailed to an Associated Press reporter. "America's democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values."If America's democratic system was working the way it was designed then the torturers would have been arrested, prosecuted, and put in jail many years ago. If anything this whole episode is proof that the system is broken.
After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: "I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure." He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. "Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning," he replied, "just gasping between life and death."
Nielsen's experience was not unique. Nor was the prosecution of his captors. After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan's military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians. The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding.
As a result of such accounts, a number of Japanese prison-camp officers and guards were convicted of torture that clearly violated the laws of war. They were not the only defendants convicted in such cases. As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the "water cure" to question Filipino guerrillas.
In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."
The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.What about the torture he didn't ban?
But having said all that, we did some things that were wrong. And that’s what that report reflects. And that’s the reason why, after I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report.