By Norman Harman at Apr 25, 2009
I was going to write about Obama's integrity deficit but the torture apologists have caught my attention and need to be addressed:
I must say I am thoroughly fed-up with the defense of torture act being played-out in the American press and on the Comments pages of many websites. Not only are the apologists for torture defending horrible affronts to human dignity and decency, they try to pass off sophistry and specious arguments as logic and patriotism. They are declaring themselves to be pathetically deficient in moral sensibilities and exceedingly crude in their regard for their fellow humans.
Torture is despicable, degrading and dishonorable, the invention of cowards and the work of weak-minded thugs. There is no honor in such behavior. Physically and mentally abusing unarmed, shackled, imprisoned, helpless human beings - no matter what their suspected crimes - is the equivalent of torturing an infant. The prisoners are no more able to defend themselves than are helpless newborns. Defending or dismissing such behavior is nearly as distasteful and degrading as the acts themselves. There is no legitimate defense for torturing helpless prisoners, as there could be no legitimate defense for beating and abusing helpless infants.
President Obama was wrong in the extreme when he defended the torturers actions as ‘doing their patriotic duty in accordance with the lawful decisions of their superiors.’ That such claptrap passes for political discourse is an indictment of our democracy. What the president calls "patriotism" must never be allowed to trump morality, for that would be a rejection of law itself. And civilization cannot function without law.
Those CIA and civilian interrogators were not acting with honor, they were not operating under the guidance of some high-minded, love-of-country zeal. They were no better than those pathetic American soldiers inside the depressing walls of Sadam Hussein’s favorite prison. The guards inside Abu Ghraib were acting as little more than cowardly bullies and thugs abusing helpless prisoners – all with the perverse shadow of sadism hanging over the whole ugly mess ((one activated National Guardsman stating to a reporter, ”there’s nothing I like better than to make a man piss himself with fear) .
To prevail in defense of this sickness, this festering cancer, would cast doubt and dishonor on every American soldier and every American intelligence and law enforcement agent that has worked so hard to defend their country over the last eight years. Defending torture is not patriotic, it does not show strength, and it is most definitely not the path to safety and security. Quite the contrary, it is the opposite of patriotism; it is ignorant jingoism. It doesn’t denote strength; it betrays fearful cowardice. And rather than bringing safety and security, it brings corruption. Keeping torture as official policy, sanctioned at the highest political levels, will produce a corruption that spreads downward (as we have already seen), growing ever larger in the halls of power until it consumes and corrupts every institution of government and the corporations they often serve. Corruption from the top can - and has, as history has abundantly shown – topple whole civilizations.
On a personal note: As a veteran and the son of a career soldier who earned six Purple Hearts in the jungles of the South Pacific during WWII and spent nearly three years slogging through mud, blood and shit up and down the Korean Peninsula, I resent the hell out of the defenders of a bunch of delusional politicians setting in motion policies that led a pathetic group of morally challenged dimwits to commit gross atrocities against helpless victims; besmirching my honorable service and especially that of my late father’s.
A pox on the whole sorry lot of you.