There’s a debate now, as there always is, when it comes to telling the truth– how much to tell and which version of the truth will be the last word on the subject. In our bleeding America, this debate, when churned enough, often leads to veins popping out on necks, sprays of spittle and physical violence.
The present kerfuffle (a word VP Cheney dusted off to describe the brouhaha over his accidentally shooting an acquaintance in the face with buckshot while trying to kill tiny birds) is over how much to reveal about our recent torture policy. An official government report is finally about to come out, a decade after the most extreme forms of ‘dark side’ interrogation techniques were systematically used against thousands of captured Muslims.
The report concludes, from what we hear, that torture was routinely committed, even if deniability was maintained for the actual architects and engineers of the program. It was more widespread, and even worse, than the designers of the program intended, the report concludes. This conclusion is excessively fair, one suspects, to those who commissioned, mandated and legally justified the specific policies and techniques while urging their unsupervised use.
The report is also said to conclude what every credible expert on interrogation always says: no reliable intelligence was extracted through the use of torture, in spite of the muscular claims of ‘enhanced interrogation’s (torture’s)’ forceful public defenders.
Our president has already made things bad enough by admitting, with awkward candor, that, after 9/11, good Americans, with the best of intentions, and in genuine fear, well, “we tortured some folks.” Just another example, his enemies will say, of the illegitimate tone deaf idiot making life harder for the lovers and protectors of the American way of life.
Here is the concern: if murderous fanatics who already hate us intensely learn the actual details of the cruel tactics we routinely used against many, many Muslims who had nothing to do with fighting America, as well as some who did, they will have good reason to seek revenge. Think of the incendiary propaganda too many actual details would provide the terrorists!
America invaded Muslim countries under sometimes false pretenses, admittedly, ousted a few bad leaders (a good thing) and then humiliated, terrified and tortured many people, innocent and guilty, suspected of hating America and plotting to kill our citizens. Fair enough, fair-minded defenders of the torture program will say, but why should any of that really be a problem now, so many years later? Mistakes were made, passive voices used, folks were tortured. Nothing to see here, move on, folks.
The audacity of hope is one thing. The audacity of “fuck you, asshole, what are you going to fucking do about it?” is another thing. Then there is all that grey area in between, where the devil resides, in unspeakable luxury.
NY Times version of last paragraph:
The audacity of hope is one thing. The audacity of “nuts to you, fool, are you going to do something about it?” is another thing. Then there is all that grey area in between, where the devil resides, in unspeakable luxury.