Peter (pmb) wrote,

Torture is not okay.

Torture is not okay. It is, in fact, never okay. I was reminded of this when I read this description of a Yemeni man who was tortured into confessing by a despotic regime and then handed over to the US as a terrorist. He then spent 19 months having his mind broken in US "black site" prisons. Then, he was released without charges or explanation or apology or even acknowledgement.

Torture rots the soul. Government-run torture rots the soul of a nation. Guantanamo Bay is now cultural shorthand for being locked up forever and mentally destroyed for no reason and with no recourse. Even the hamster song, sung by children with extra verses they made up, says "If the hamster is caught playing with fireworks / Guantanamo Bay for the hamster". Undoing the Magna Carta by revoking habeas corpus and engaging in extended psychological and physical torture of subjects is evil. It goes way beyond anything that might be considered "wrong" or "misguided". The people who have wrought this upon our nation should be in prison, removed from society so that we may recover from the fallout of their evil deeds.* Instead, not only are they still in power, there's basically nobody out there with any power who is standing up when it matters. Even was-a-POW-and-got-tortured John McCain rolled over and signed onto our current course of action. Without useful recourse, I am stuck complaining on the Internet and signing every petition that comes my way and calling my elected representatives, and wondering what are the long term effects of evil deeds when they are committed by a modern hyperpower.

The consequences will not be nice and they will not be good and they will echo for a long long time. I'm worried.

* - Fallout is definitely the right word here. Think of nuclear ash poisoning the landscape and taking generations to fade away. In the meantime, all that tries to grow there ends up stunted and gone wrong. The only sane responses are to either give up and wait it out in a bunker or to engage in a concerted cleanup effort at no small danger to the cleaner.

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