The Debate Over Torture


The debate over torture in the aftermath of the release of the findings by the Senate Committee that was (at least in the beginning) a bi-partisan effort to get out the truth about the torture of prisoners that went on during the early years after 9/11 is now heating up as a non-partisan issue as seemly all issues coming out of Washington these days wind up being. The GOP with a couple of exceptions is on Dick Cheney’s side and the Dems are on the other.

It isn’t nor should it be a partisan issue. Torture is wrong. It has been condemned always in our nation by presidents and by congress regardless of who was in charge or regardless of what party was in power. George Washington set the tone and the standard when during the American Revolution he refused to allow the torture of captured Hessians working at the paid army for King George. And it has been the standard that has been followed ever since except for the administration of George W. Bush the lessor.

Torture is wrong on so many levels and for so many reasons. And our history tells us that there have been many cases whereby members of our military have been brought to justice because they took it upon themselves to authorize the torture of captured prisoners. Those are facts not in dispute.

The case for torture doesn’t wash either. There is no empirical evidence that torture works or has ever worked. And for Dick Cheney to say that it was effective is simply not the truth. Facts nor the evidence does not bear him out as being honest nor factual. The work of finding about what the enemy is doing or has done is and always has been effective through the mundane nature and machinations of our network of code breakers and spies who are on the ground and involved in the day-to-day effort to learn facts that the torture of prisoners never reveal.

The facts are that when we resort to torture those whom we torture tend to tell us what the believe we want to hear and again and again over the years information gleaned from when we did illegally torture prisoners in our custody has proved false and misleading. The real work of learning about the movements and machinations of the enemy has always been behind the scenes by people who are simply analyzing the information they receive from the network of those in the underground effort being waged against whomever we are at odds with.

It’s boots on the ground and using the intellect and analyzing skills of everyday ordinary people who does and always have made the difference. Torture only works in the demented and sadistic minds of people like Dick Cheney and others of his ilk who probably watched one too many war spy movies as children. Spies and those who work and toil as part of the clandestine organizations like the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), MI6 (British Military Intelligence) and the U.S. Army’s G-2 Service during World War II were credited with all of the success of finding out what Japan and Germany were up to during World War II.

They relied not on torture of captured spies or soldiers but on the sifting through tons of coded messages and intercepted couriers documents to find out what the enemy’s plans were. They relied on a network of underground citizens in occupied countries and even in Japan and Germany to glean the information needed. Not on the torture of captured prisoners.

Torture may have worked well as a devise to move a spy movie along, but in actual fact torture was not used nor necessary in real life because our nation and its allies used everyday ordinary methods to gain the information they needed to successful prosecute the war and win the day.

Torture wasn’t a tool that had any real foundation in the spy game until the fanciful cowboys of Bush/Cheney took command of our country and hired a couple of idiots who had no clue as to what they were doing and paid them 81 million dollars to devise a plan to torture captured members of Al Qeda and other terrorist organizations.

The first thing that comes to my mind was, “What the Hell were they thinking?” And then I realize that we are talking about Bush/Cheney a couple of lack luster politicos who had through a series of gwad awful miscarriages of justice and a vote by 5 Supremes which probably wasn’t even legal, had risen to a level far above their intellectual capacity to discern right from wrong to make decisions on matters of life and death they should never have been allowed to make.

The torture of prisoners in our custody by members of our government should never have happened and it looks like that nothing will be done to bring those who authorized it and those who engaged in it, to justice. But at the very least let us hope and pray that it will never again be allowed to happen. And that sane heads will take the necessary steps to prevent if from happening again in the future. But I won’t hold my breath until that happens.

Bob Bearden

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