Tuesday, December 23, 2014

American Values?

much has been written about the senate report on torture at the hands of the american government's intelligence apparatus.  i doubt that i have anything to add to what others have written, but i feel compelled to have my say.  the account of what we have done is disturbing.  how can the united states have any credibility in the world if we are guilty of such heinous crimes?  how can we now condemn other regimes for human rights abuses when we have shown such disdain for the rights of others?  why aren't those who were involved being prosecuted?

equally troubling is the attitude of the american public to the actions described in the senate report.  almost half the population believe that torture is justified in the fight against terrorism.  this position is held despite learning from the report that many innocent people were subjected to torture and that little to no useful information was gained.  we discovered that some of those subjected to these horrible "enhanced interrogation techniques" implicated innocents in order to escape further "questioning."  where is the moral outrage among us that ought to accompany publication of the senate report?

the attorney general of the united states, alberto gonzales, who presided over the development of the legal doctrines used to justify the disqualification of these detainees from the provisions of international law and treaty, such as the geneva convention, is now the dean of the law school at belmont university, one of the most prestigious christian universities in the nation.  how can such a person attain such a position?  what does his employment at belmont say about the vaunted christian credentials of belmont?  why should one of those most involved in this sordid business be so honored?

are we so arrogant as a people that we actually believe that we have the right to engage in the most grievous abuses of human rights in order to combat terrorism?  where will such a belief lead us?  we are on very shaky moral ground when we permit such actions to be taken in the mistaken belief that these practices will keep us from harm.  may we disavow any future use of torture for any reason.  may we repent of our past actions, seek to make amends, and prosecute those who engaged in them.  may we decry in the strongest possible language what has been done under the guise of national security.  may we practice what we preach to the rest of the world.   shalom

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