Look, I don’t want to believe that my Christian brother George W. Bush has approved the use of torture on terrorists in captivity at Guantanamo Bay or anywhere else. I want to believe he, at least mentally, wears his “WWJD” bracelet and refers to it when he needs to make a decision.
“Let’s see. Would Jesus approve of people torturing people? No matter how noble the motive? No, I guess not.
“OK – you can’t do it. Sorry, Mr. Rumsfeld, find another way to get the information.”
The trouble is it doesn’t much matter what I want to believe. What matters is to find out, once and for all, whether our government, for the first time in history, has made torturing prisoners a matter of policy. The administration denies it right and left. Yet their interrogation methods remain so secret a prisoner can’t even tell his lawyer what they did to him. And maybe it’s true that, in another example, those soldiers at Abu Gharib just decided on their own to torture prisoners. And maybe it’s true that Rumsfeld knew nothing about it.
But those questions won’t go away. Once they’ve started they have to be answered.
But we Americans won’t talk about it. It’s too horrible. How many times did you hear the torture issue come up in pre-election arguing? I never did. Peter Steinfels, writing in the New York Times last Saturday, suggests torture “is such a stain on personal and national character that nothing but appalling photographs could have forced the subject to the fore.”
That’s why I am a little upbeat about the suit a group of American lawyers (the Center for Constitutional Rights) filed in Germany yesterday. They asked the German government to investigate Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and George Tenet, the former director of the CIA. Investigate them for “suspected war crimes stemming from the treatment of prisoners in military jails in Iraq and Cuba.” German law allows for prosecuting war criminals no matter who they work for.
Hey, Greatest Generation, how would you feel about Germany prosecuting the USA’s ex-Secretary of Defense for war crimes? I’m with you – I would hate it.
To me, that’s the point. We’ve got to get this out in the open air. Rub our noses in it. I refuse to believe the American people have become so decadent that they will just yawn and change the channel if it turns out to be true (I know this sounds incredibly naive) that Americans have been torturing their enemies.
Labels: Simple Justice