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A few weeks ago, the PBS program “Frontline” broadcast “Secrets, Politics and Turture”, which they describe as “The secret history of the CIA’s controversial ‘enhanced interrogation’ methods”. You can watch this program online, and you really should.

Why am I saying this to you? Because there was a small amount of publicity after it was shown, but there was no major outcry. I think the media is afraid to make a big story out of this. And even worse, many Americans do not want to admit that we violated international law, our constitution, every reasonable moral code, and deliberately tortured people.

What’s worse to me are the people who claim torture was necessary to obtain important information in the fight against terrorism, when there is no evidence to support that claim. In fact, the program provides strong evidence that our rush to use torture actually prevented us from obtaining important information.

Not only are they lying about the use of torture, the CIA illegally destroyed evidence of it. The CIA’s chief operations officer destroyed hundreds of hours of videotape even though they were ordered not to by Congress and the courts. A reporter for The New Yorker was told “if those videotapes had ever been seen, the reaction around the world would not have been survivable.”

This is a big deal, and it shouldn’t just go away in a puff of abject denial. If we do not take strong steps now, we will torture again. We are better than that as a country. We have to be.



  1. John Lawler wrote:

    Re: continuing to torture… The article mentioned one time yesterday (6/8/15) about the young man who committed suicide at Rikers prison. Apparently he was accused of stealing a backpack when he was 16, BUT never had a trial!!! was never judged guilty of a crime !! BUT was kept in Rikers for THREE years! sometimes in solitary confinement… He just committed suicide. Isn’t this another case of torture! Iknow this doesn’t fit the Irony concept…. but .. I had to add the comment to the torture article.
    THANK YOU!! for posting Political Irony!

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 7:43 am | Permalink
  2. John wrote:

    Or, perhaps we should simply stop kidding ourselves about the kind of country, and the kind of people, we really are? “Values” is a convenient rhetorical word; in reality not much else.

    The strange (ironic?) thing, in my opinion, is that even the cowards who have supported and continue to support torture, and we can all name more than a few and they ARE cowards, continue to minimize what they’re doing… using phrases like, “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Even those supporters are too cowardly to actually say, “Yes. It was torture. We KNOW it was torture. The president DID know and DID support the use of torture, and we will do so again whenever it suits us. Values? There is NOTHING in the least bit special about our values, except the one that says it is okay for us to do whatever we feel is necessary when we are afraid, to make ourselves feel less afraid. And, believe us when we say this, we are DESPERATELY afraid.”

    As a nation, we probably once possessed a thing called “courage.” We were also, once, a nation of immigrants. we have become petty.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink
  3. il-08 wrote:

    Equally surprising to the lack of reaction of this excellent Frontline program (as most of them are) is the lack of reaction on this very blog. No surprise, no outrage, just the urge to move on.

    The only thing I can use to get my head around it is WWII and the ruling political party in Germany (NO I AM NOT COMPARING BUSH TO HITLER, NO INVOKING GOODWIN’S LAW), they got to power and started the big lie, told it over and over to where everyone knew it wasn’t true, but just shrugged their shoulders and moved on. Towards the end of the war, as every WWII movie ever made will attest, the German civilians denied knowledge of the death camp outside their town, but when forced to go clean up the mess, they just shrugged their shoulders and buried the bodies and moved on. That seems to be where we are in America, lets just bury the bodies and move on.

    Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  4. BTN wrote:

    The lack of reaction is not surprsing at all for two reasons:
    1) People don’t like to think about things that make them unncomfortable
    2) Many people will gladly trade someone else’s rights if it enhances their own lives even just a smidgen; same reason why the outcry over killing unarmed civilians is small and same reason why government surveilance is now being encouraged
    3) people justify these things becuase they say in their mindsit only happens to “bad guys”: ignoring the fact that some of these people have not had trials.

    Friday, June 12, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink
  5. BTN wrote:

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

    – Pastor Martin Niemöller

    Friday, June 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink