How the Post 9/11 Fever Led Our National Security Complex Beyond Accountability for its Crimes
September 11, 2012 |
A man crosses the Central Intelligence Agency logo in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in 2008. A former CIA official who publicly confirmed the waterboarding of top Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was charged Monday with leaking classified information to journalists, including the identities of two CIA officers.
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Here is what military briefers like to call BLUF, the Bottom Line Up Front: no one except John Kiriakou is being held accountable for America’s torture policy. And John Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone, he just blew the whistle on it.
In a Galaxy Far, Far Away
A long time ago, with mediocre grades and no athletic ability, I applied for a Rhodes Scholarship. I guess the Rhodes committee at my school needed practice, and I found myself undergoing a rigorous oral examination. Here was the final question they fired at me, probing my ability to think morally and justly: You are a soldier. Your prisoner has information that might save your life. The only way to obtain it is through torture. What do you do?
At that time, a million years ago in an America that no longer exists, my obvious answer was never to torture, never to lower oneself, never to sacrifice one’s humanity and soul, even if it meant death. My visceral reaction: to become a torturer was its own form of living death. (An undergrad today, after the “ enhanced interrogation ” Bush years and in the wake of 24, would probably detail specific techniques that should be employed.) My advisor later told me my answer was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise spectacularly unsuccessful interview. read on...