The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA’s torture of prisoners in the “war on terror” was released today. We’re far past the euphemisms that have been used for years — we didn’t subject people to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” No, we tortured people. Torturing people didn’t produce the results that we wanted. Torturing people didn’t produce anything of use.
And I am deliberately using the word “we,” because (if you’re an American, anyway), this torture was done in our name and on our behalf. In 2004 we reelected the regime that engaged in torture. It wasn’t like that torture was happening in secret. This torture report impugns the CIA, but more importantly, it impugns all of us.
This is what happened in our name. The report tells us, in the New York Times‘ words, “is a portrait of depravity that is hard to comprehend and even harder to stomach. The report raises again, with renewed power, the question of why no one has ever been held accountable for these seeming crimes — not the top officials who set them in motion, the lower-level officials who committed the torture, or those who covered it up, including by destroying videotapes of the abuse and by trying to block the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of their acts.”
I’m angry about this. I have been angry for a decade about the Bush regime’s torture program. I have been angry about the Obama adminstration’s unwillingness to prosecute those who tortured and those who authorized the torture. I have been angry by society’s indifference to the way that torture compromised American values, by how our willingness to torture people demonstrates to the world that we don’t live up to our own rhetoric.
And I’m angry because people like John Yoo and Dick Cheney and the nameless CIA operatives and, yes, even George Bush will never face justice for what they did.
I’m angry today.