Monday, August 04, 2014

"We Tortured Some Folks" and We Will Do Nothing About It

Someone's gonna have to fuckin' explain this to the Rude Pundit. Someone's gonna have to fuckin' explain how Barack Obama, the President of this damn nation, can go before the press, the TV cameras, the world, and declare, "[I]n the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we did some things that were wrong...we tortured some folks" and not follow that up with "And we're going to prosecute those who did it and those who ordered it."

Someone smarter than the Rude Pundit is gonna need to tell him how what the President said next is any sort of alibi: "I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this."

And what the fuck does this even mean? "And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots." So if we think that it was possible to defend the country without breaking the law and torturing innocent people, we're sanctimonious? Fuck you, man. There's a shit-ton of military, intelligence, and law enforcement professionals who would say, "Fuck you" to that, too.

Let's be clear: when someone says that we're talking about torture right after 9/11, as if a couple of rogue agents twisted the nuts of Abdul al-Suicidebomb as he ululated, "Death to America," that's a fucking lie. That's revisionist history for our increasingly short-term memory. What we're really talking about is a system of torture used for years that was approved at the highest levels of government. We didn't just torture "some folks." We tortured lots of people. And if we weren't torturing them bad enough to get the answers they didn't have, we sent them places where they could be tortured even worse.

And let's be clearer: By not much of a stretch of Obama's reasoning, any time a cop, in the heat of an interrogation, beats the shit out of a perp, he is justified. Hell, every Stand Your Ground incident is legitimate because of the "enormous pressure" on the person thinking the stranger knocking at the door is going to off them. Most frighteningly, everything our government does after an attack is ok because, goddamnit, those interrogators forcing nude, kidnapped detainees into stress positions and slamming them around are motherfucking patriots and the rest of us Don't Understand Reality.

Don't worry, though. Obama is on the case: "[W]e did some things that were wrong. And that's what that ["forthcoming" Senate torture] report reflects. And that's the reason why, after I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report." Which is great, kudos, and all that shit, but "some"? Not "all"? And what about the people who tortured? What about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, and the rogue's gallery of unapologetic cunts who made it happen?

Said the President, "And my hope is, is that this report reminds us once again that the character of our country has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when things are hard. And when we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line." So we're gonna frog march the bastards and put 'em in prison, right?

No. "And that needs to be -- that needs to be understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that, hopefully, we don't do it again in the future."

In other words, the character of the country is shit because we did such things, and we just need to accept it and move on, hoping we don't repeat these crimes that no one was ever charged with. You know, apparently Obama doesn't think he's the leader of a nation based on laws in this case. No, apparently, he's our pathetic dad, telling us that, hey, your uncle raped you, but we don't want to cause turmoil in the family, so you'll just have to get over it, even though you'll see him at every cousin's birthday party.

(One last thing: Could someone tell Obama he's a fucking law professor and to be a little more precise in his words? The people who were tortured are "folks." The people who did the torturing are "folks." We're all just "folks"? Maybe the Rude Pundit's being sanctimonious, but there's some monsters he doesn't want to be lumped in with beyond species.)

Update: Tom Tomorrow pointed out the "some" in the interrogation techniques statement.  Yeah, that's fucked up.