Friday, April 11, 2008

To Torture or Not -- Fundamental Questions :

This administration will always claim 9/11 as its rationale to do anything it wishes. My anger against them is harsh because I love the ideals of the Enlightenment upon which our prescient Founders formed our American experiment. I do, though, of course, want this country protected from harm in a post 9/11 world. I want to know if the extensions of executive power are keeping us safe. I do not know who our government is capturing, what their charges are, or what methods of "enhanced interrogation techniques" are being used. Because there is no habeas corpus for those apprehended, they languish in jail, without trial, many of them probably tortured for nothing. Some, it seems, if one believes documentaries such as "Taxi to the Dark Side", simply found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up dead. I ask the question: is the abridging of the guarantees of habeas corpus, fair trial by jury, and prohibitions of cruel and unusual punishment justified?

If the government is throwing a dragnet over many who pose absolutely no real threat to anyone, that is problematic. It is a colossal waste of time, money and manpower to coordinate a Herculean effort to house people in jails without trial or without charges and to torture them forever. It has been shown that torture, indeed, does not work giving us faulty intelligence. In addition, it makes some who are subjected to this inhuman behavior very angry. So why torture? Our government has not shown sufficiently to me that because of these internationally unlawful tactics we are safer.

I want to know if there is justification for our government's controversial practices. The public is inured to the erosion of so many hard-won principles which have been the bedrock upon which western culture rests. Our nation's reputation in the world is severely compromised. Somehow I do not feel safer. Do you?