The United States is in the business of torture as this eye-opening memo that was recently leaked reveals. This memo admits that the CIA used insects to frighten and interrogate its captives. Just as disturbing is the fact the use of torture by the Bush Administration was known to Congress all the way back in 2002, but they didn’t mention anything to the American public until Abu Ghraib embarrassed them.
It is disappointing to hear that the Obama Administration was refusing to prosecute those involved, and we are told to just “move on” and ignore the crimes of our government. Obama is supposedly now “hinting” at prosecuting, but i’m not optimistic because it will expose not only the horrors of the Bush Administration but also my (embarassing) representative Nancy Pelosi’s compliance. The prosecution of these criminals would hurt the CIA’s ability to execute Obama’s private war in Pakistan, and might make people question his imperial authority to further occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.
These “enchanced interrogation” methods are illegal under treaties signed by the United States (somewhere in Geneva, I think), and Japanese military leaders were prosecuted post-WW2 for waterboarding Americans. As much research shows, torture is ineffective at acquiring useful information, and even suspects detained after 9/11 by the CIA gave them false information, most likely to stop the pain.
Torture is a bipartisan sport in the U.S. Congress, except for a few, outspoken dissenters. These dissenters also share the view that when you defend war, torture must also inevitably be defended. The arguments concerning the morality or non-effectiveness of torture miss the larger point; a free and decent Republic would of course obey its international treaties, constitutional law, and defense of that beautiful, and bloodily fought for, right of habeas corpus. America is no longer the Republic of its infancy, however, and it has embraced empire, an empire that Napoleon, Stalin, or Bismarck would have salivated over.
America’s transition to world-policeman was not sudden and didn’t start when George W. Bush came into office, despite what some of his liberal critics think. Signs of this transition could be heard in the screams of 200,000 dead Philippines when we went to war with Spain in the early 20th cenutry, it grew louder in two world wars that left Europe and the Atlantic in ashes, and it was officially born in Hiroshima.
This leak, and the Obama Administration’s refusal to prosecute anybody, comes as no surprise. Torture? Of course the U.S. tortures, and it has for years. Torture is but a drop in the bucket of what the U.S. Empire has unleashed on the world: firebombing cities, coups, concentration internment camps, cruise-missile strikes, starvation sanctions, and mind control experimentation.
Besides these crimes that occurred away from our shores, there are domestic consequences to America’s slow transition into empire: deliberate lies and misinformation from our intelligence agencies, a vast expansion of presidential power, violations of habeas corpus, hawks screeching for war in both parties, the smearing of war critics, invasions of privacy, sick and neglected veterans, and trillions of dollars.
Is empire worth this price?