On Torture

Finally we have the Senate Intelligence Committee report, which says that our government tortured people whom we had captured. Vice President Chaney and various CIA leaders claim that valuable intelligence was gathered using torture; the report says otherwise. It's very hard for those of us without high-level security clearances to have an independent judgment.

I think this debate misses a very important point. Torture is wrong, no matter who does it and what the circumstances are. Let's suppose that the defenders of the "enhanced interrogation program" are correct, and that innocent Americans would have been more likely to be killed in a second attack had torture not been used. Have we as a people become so weak, so terrified, that we are now unwilling to die for our beliefs? Where is our gumption, our willingness to do the right as we see the right, and take our chances, both individually and as a people?

The Bush administration panicked after 9/11, and launched "enhanced interrogation" to be seen to be doing something. The CIA and the armed forces did what they were told to do. That's humanly and politically understandable, but doesn't make it right.

As a people and as a government, we've done wrong things in the past. When we see that we were wrong, we admit it and resolve to do better. Let's agree not to torture, whether or not it was effective.