Some People Spoke Up

Never let it be said that everybody went along:

Over and over again, in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, in secret CIA black sites and at CIA headquarters, in the Pentagon, and in Washington, men and women recognized the torture for what it was and refused to remain silent. They objected, protested, and fought to prevent, and then to end, these illegal and immoral interrogations. While the president and his top advisers approved and encouraged the torture of prisoners, there was dissent in every agency, at every level.

The documents are full of these voices. In fact, it is thanks to these dissenters that much of the documentary record exists. Fromemails among FBI agents sharing their shock over scenes they had witnessed in interrogation booths in Guantánamo, toletters and memoranda for the record, tomajor internal investigations, the documents show that those who ordered and carried out the torture did so despite constant warnings and objections that their actions were ineffective, short-sighted, and wrong. It is no wonder that so many of these documents were suppressed.

There’s this tendency, especially among our stupider punditry, to act like “everybody” just lost they damn minds in the wake of 9/11 and went all torture-happy because “we” were all so pissed off from having been attacked like nobody had ever attacked us before with the new world we were living in and all that transformative socio-bullshittery and nonsense. Thus, if “we” are all responsible, then none of us is responsible, and nobody needs to be held to account, and nothing needs to be said. Let it all be forgotten so we can go on our merry way.

Obama’s record on this stuff, by the way?Appalling. Especially so, and all the more so, for a fucking scholar of the law. Forget punishing the people who did this. It would be nice if he, himself, stopped doing this, first off.


4 thoughts on “Some People Spoke Up

  1. David Terrenoire says:

    I posted this on my Facebook page, giving you the props, A. Thanks.


  2. mothra says:

    You know, Obama’s record on this and on so many civil rights issues so distresses me that I am really struggling with whether I can vote for him again. I worked on a couple of Gitmo cases with a law firm I used to work for. Since I had a security clearance I saw things that made me embarrassed to be an American and deeply ashamed of my country. Not just things done during the Bush years, but things done under Obama’s DOJ. The worst part is I can’t tell anyone what I saw or observed because this DOJ would surely prosecute me for violations of CIPA. That’s their tool and they are using it with great abandon to shut people up. It makes me so angry and sad…


  3. MapleStreet says:

    Dare I suggest that it is intentional that the pundits from the “Bush Echo Chamber” are intentionally misrepresenting it as “everybody did it” both to protect the ones responsible and to keep away from any personal responsibility for their encouraging it.
    Should make a fascinating study into how those in power can coerce those under them. In fact, I would say that the abuse cries out for investigation of the immorality. If not investigation by a legal body, then hopefully a legitimate academic body. As for the legal body, I share a deep disappointment that Obama hasn’t followed through with closing Gitmo, etc. But I’m guessing that both sides of the political aisle were so deeply immersed that neither side wants a real investigation.
    As for practical effects, everytime the USA claims to be taking the moral high ground (usually to influence policies in other countries), someone should hold up a picture of Gitmo or other abuses. Every time we claim that we have evidence of some evil another country is doing, we should play Colin Powell before the UN.
    As for politics, everytime a politician talks about the USA taking the moral high ground, someone should similarly show views of our past decade.


  4. k says:

    Thank you. I am so relieved to know there were voices speaking out.


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