Monday, April 27, 2009

Ends justify the means

As I wrote about a month ago, the futility of torture is the inevitable conclusion. And a month ago, I was thinking that as more information dribbles out that more Americans would show their moral indignation and begin demanding some accountability. Instead, very little outrage and even the defense of none other than Dick Cheney, the spouse of Lynn Cheney, who writes children's books, justifies the torture with, "it works."

Frank Rich in a NYT op-ed peice does a good job of capturing the blase response from the public. Therein lies the triumph of terrorism; not that it terrorizes us into hiding in our homes, but rather it turns us into that which we claim to not be. the article is here

Yet, as I read Rich, I cannot help but think back to one of my earliest takes on the entire "war against terror," that the Bush Administration didn't believe enough in our justice system, in our constitution to deal with terrorism. We couldn't rely on our legal standards, our constitutional safeguards to fight terrorism (or to keep "us" safe). Even our legislative process was suspect. Only police power, a police state, could keep us safe and win the war on terrorism.

Even the fantasy "24" scenario, the ticking time bomb, would/should we torture to get information to save those lives, is one which is used to argue against our laws. If such an unusual situation occurred, we have means to deal with it. The legal system can try the torturer(s) and a jury of their peers can decide guilt. Even now, it seems, that the Dick Cheney defense, "it worked" and then the counter, "no it didn't" seems to miss the point. It doesn't matter if it worked or not, torture is against our values, our morality, and our laws. Either change the laws, scrap the values, overturn the morality, or let our system do its job.

If the authorizers of torture (and those who participated) want to defend their illegal and immoral acts, let them in a court of law. Let them show the information....shouldn't matter, but then OJ got off and that is because the prosecutors did a poor it should be.

The biggest casualty, as I see it, is the complete undermining of our system of justice by the Bush Administration and from what I can see, it continues under the Obama Administration. What a shame.

A nation of laws, where even the powerful are subject to justice if they break the laws is the defensible America. Arguments of ends justify means is the argument of a police state.

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