Saturday, April 07, 2007

When you torture, you lose the benefit of the doubt

Front paged at My Left Wing. Recommended at Daily Kos

here is exhibit 3,227 as to why torturing is really, really, REALLY bad:
An Iranian diplomat, freed this week after being abducted in Iraq, accused the CIA of torturing him during his two-month detention, Iranian state television reported Saturday.

The United States immediately denied any involvement in the Iranian's disappearance or release.

See, here is the problem – even if we are to believe that, in this instance, the US is telling the truth, the Iranian diplomat is lying through his teeth and there was absolutely no torture or “coercive interrogation techniques”, there is still a question as to who is right and who is wrong here (in terms of the facts).

Let me put it in a more sobering way: because there is so much documented evidence of torture by the United States – whether it is in Iraq, Gitmo, Afghanistan, any of the secret CIA torture prisons that were operated in Poland and Europe or any of the countries that the US rendered suspects to in order to have them tortured – because the US has participated in and condoned torture, we don’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore when it comes to whether we actually did torture someone..

Needless to say, this is a horrible sign on so many levels. Because of the sadistic members of the Bush administration, there is now a cloud of doubt (and certainly no sympathy for the United States) over what may very well be an inaccurate accusation by a diplomat of a country with a leader who is just as ideologically crazy as (but much smarter than) our leader at a time where tensions between these two countries is way higher than it should be.

Regardless of what actually transpired between the UK and Iran with the “non-negotiation” and release of the 15 hostages, Iran showed that, even if it did what it did, it is still a step above the United States when it comes to diplomacy. And while that may not seem to count for much, it counts for a lot in the eyes of many countries (as well as people) around the world.

There once was a time where nobody would DARE to accuse the United States of torture. There once was a time when the CIA had documents that specifically outlined and outlawed behaviors that were most definitely considered to be torture. There once was a time when the US didn’t export torture to other countries.

There once was a time when the Executive Branch did not draft document after document after document after document trying to justify war crimes and torture. There once was a time when Congress wouldn’t pass laws that would strip people of their basic rights.

Sadly, that time has long since passed.

And now, we are left with accusations of torture by a diplomat of Iran. Accusations that may be true, they may be false. At this point, it is really the diplomat’s word against the word of the CIA, and the United States.

Because of the actions taken, documents drafted, laws changed, and lack of any meaningful ramifications against those who not only did the torturing, but authorized and condoned it, the United States is left in a very precarious position.

Most of the world either doesn’t believe that the Iranian diplomat wasn’t tortured, or doesn’t have any sympathy for the US if the diplomat is lying. Both of those viewpoints are very telling. And they show how far the United States has fallen in the eyes of the world, and the eyes of many of its’ own citizens.

This is yet another black eye to the US and its’ standing in the world community. We are no better than those regimes that the Bush administration preaches about as examples of “the enemy”.

Make no mistake, there is an enemy out there. But there is also an enemy within. And this enemy within has done far more damage to this country over the past 6 years than the enemy without has.

1 comment:

zenbowl said...

Great blog! I only wonder how long it will take for the US to regain its former prestige. I don't think we were ever blameless, but the number of people who are willing to give us the benefit of the doubt decreases with every day. I'm hopeful that we can once again make the world believers in the US.

I'll make it a point to read "direct from the source" from now on.