Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Schizophrenia of Americans About Torture: Hate It/Love It/Hate It/Love It

There are those who think waterboarding is torture (71%) but there are also some Americans who think it's justified (32%). Somewhere in those two numbers are hidden more sadists than we care to admit.

And while an overwhelming number think waterboarding is torture, only a third of the Americans polled care about accountability. Maybe it's a "dirty linen" mentality: our image is bad enough. Dwelling on what made it so bad will only make it worse. I, however, can think of a very good reason why there should be investigative hearings and (perhaps) convictions: closure.

That's it. We can't just walk away from a dark part of our history. We can't leave questions unanswered. We must know who gave the green light to torture, knowing full well that it was illegal. We must know who thought so little of America's conscience as to advocate torture.

Sure we know people who openly approve of (as Sean Hannity put it) "enhanced interrogation techniques." But if there were elected officials, appointed officials, who secretly promoted torture knowing that the American public would not approve of it, then they governed fraudulently and must be brought to justice.

It takes a good nation to say "we were wrong." It takes a GREAT nation to hold its own as accountable.