Day Six, The Torture Report: So the hottest whips ‘n’ chains story since Fifty Shades came out last week, and all anyone’s doing is griping about it. You just can’t trust those market trends, can you?
Turns out that the U.S.A., God-appointed bearer of the gleaming sword of liberty, has been committing war crimes for the last ten years: torturing detainees, both guilty and innocent, in some mighty creative ways. Seriously, Christian Grey’s got nothing on our boys in uniform. I wonder how Dick Cheney must feel. After all his sales pitching about how we’re the “good guys,” this has to be embarrassing.
Oh wait, I forgot: Dick Cheney doesn’t get embarrassed. Like the rest of his buddies, he never apologizes, never pauses to say “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way,” never evinces any sign of soul-searching whatsoever. Nope, after this report came out, his reaction was to call it a load of hooey, and to paint the monstrous behavior described therein as completely justified, even though the report flat out states that torture does about jack-shit at the job of extracting information.
Gosh, what a kind and loving man. I can see why people worship and defend him. He puts me in mind of a disingenuous huckster who sells you a used car but doesn’t tell you about the engine until after it’s set you on fire.
Big Dick: “Trust me, we’ll be greeted as liberators. It’ll all be over in six months. Everyone will be safe, terrorist attacks will stop, chocolate will rain from the sky, it’ll be great.”
Us: “Fuck yeah! Let’s do it…hey! You didn’t tell me we’d be hated by the rest of the world!”
Big Dick: “Yeah, you’re going to get that when you go into a long occupation like this. Sorry, no refunds.”
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell gave the usual tired spiel about how revealing crimes the US commits somehow makes the terrorists stronger, makes Americans less safe, blah blah blah etc etc etc. He was also heard muttering through his false teeth, “I remember the days when old white men could do whatever they wanted and nobody would dare to complain!” Then he went back to ranting about how gay Mexicans stealing our health care are the REAL problem.
Droves of angry people ran to the airwaves to denounce the report as well, saying that its writers hate America, and are determined to besmirch the nation’s image. I find this troubling, because it tells me that some folks just can’t stand the idea that their government might do something bad. They don’t want to hear it, they don’t want to look at it. They’d rather willfully delude themselves into thinking America is “awesome,” and shout down anyone who would point out a flaw. These are the same people who send you family photos full of perfect shining smiles, and whose kids win all the school awards and sports trophies and never seem to have any problems. Does anyone like being around people like that?
Just when the excuses and deflection were getting embarrassing, John McCain stepped up and showed the rest of those cowards in the Senate what a human being sounds like. I won’t paraphrase him, because I can’t do it justice:
Where the hell was this guy hiding? I hope he shows up more often.
Here’s the thing, though: I don’t entirely agree with him. I don’t think the US can burnish its image just by changing interrogation techniques. The stains run too deep. You do know why these atrocities were committed, right? The news doesn’t seem all that interested these days (Taylor Swift just released an album after all), but there’s a freaking WAR going on. It’s not supposed to be pretty. Nobody plays nice in war; torture is GOING TO HAPPEN. It is a symptom of a greater disease, a disease that we, the citizens of the United States, are responsible for. You can’t pump your fist, slap a yellow ribbon sticker on the back of your SUV, and then lower your head and cover your eyes when things get ugly. Instead of whining about how hideous the sores make you look, why don’t you take steps to kill the infection?
Ending torture won’t restore our honor anyway. So long as this foolish “War on Terror” continues, more horrible things will crop up. Supporters of the war (read: investors) don’t want their dirty dealings to end, so they’re trying to keep the focus on the crimes themselves, rather than the cause. Don’t listen to them. The fictional WMDs, the return of the Taliban, the shame of Abu Ghraib, the Unknown Knowns, and the hundreds of young Americans coming back dead or paralyzed: they’re all branches grown of the same root. The day we regain our status and become worthy of the world’s goodwill again is the day this war stops.