Saturday, April 18, 2009

It was THAT bad

If there are any psychological handbooks out there that help rape victims cope I suggest they be handed out to every American citizen. As a country that metaphor is sadly quite apt for what happened to us over the last eight years. From the administration of a man elected on the premise of restoring morality to the white house came a clear sanction of torture. If you have not read the memoranda released by President Obama last Thursday please consider reading them to form your own opinion of whether the practices described within constitute torture.

I had heard of and even skimmed The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, I had seen previews for Taxi to the Dark Side, but I had always maintained a hope that the US government really did not use these torturous practices. I wanted to believe that this was not possible. That age of innocence ended for me yesterday as I read the last of the torture memos released by President Obama. I realized finally that it really was THAT bad.

I began the move from denial to anger.

At once I wanted justice served to individuals. I wanted to see George W. Bush in front of an international court of justice being tried for war crimes. If not George Bush then at least the person who made the legal decision to allow these practices to be carried out on our enemies, namely ninth circuit court judge Jay Bybee. After calming and talking with friends I realized that even if the person that wrote these "permission slips" for torture was convicted of sanctioning torture what justice would come of this for future generations faced with these same questions?

After ruminating on the most effective cascade of events to ensue in the wake of these memos being made public I came to one solid conclusion. A case should be brought to the supreme court, the people of the United States vs. Jay Bybee. The desired result of such a hearing would be to make clear to the world the exact definition of torture. Our supreme court justices would have a monumental task of using language to build a threshold barrier on the slippery slope between interrogation and torture. In this manner we would both serve justice and clarify the guidelines for what a civilized democracy can and cannot do under universal circumstances.

In the meantime it is our duty as a self-informing citizenry to carefully read these memos and think about their implications. One conclusion I have made is that it really was as bad as I had suspected.

If you happen to have 3 hours of extra time you might want to watch this

John Yoo - this is the name of the author of some of the torture memos. Though Jay Bybee's name appears at the top of the memos John Yoo admits in this hearing (video directly above 1 hour and 13 minutes in) drafting the document.

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