Torture is repellent to many, if not most, and we know that if it is not addressed it will likely be repeated to support whatever future cause may be manufactured to serve the interests of greed, lust for power or madness.
We, i.e. the Americans, have been torturing for the past seven years, and there are apparently still contrivances from its prohibition tolerated by the current administration. And the patriot-crazies yet endorse the practice, openly espousing its employment in the "war on terror," that phrase a sample of the sort of device which makes all abominations permissible if not necessary to save the Republic from whatever peril the propagandists may promote.
Now we learn that torture was not entirely a partisan affair, as more details seep out daily that the then-minority Democrats secretly knew of its use for some years before the public exposure, and by their silence tacitly approved of the practice. This leaves us with no clean hands, no real organized effort within our government, none in Congress, none in either major political party, and not even our new reform President to champion prosecution and justice. And, as we have learned across recent years, none to be expected from our bought-and-paid-for, or perhaps simply cowardly, mass media.
The polls indicate that a growing number of the electorate disapprove of torture and many even favor prosecution. And the operative question is: So what? Our recent history offers little encouragement to anyone who has noticed that the great American electorate is generous with casual opinion but reluctant to trouble themselves to ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING WITH SUFFICIENT DETERMINATION AND NUMBERS TO CHALLENGE AND CHANGE what our political misrepresentatives are otherwise inclined to do. After all, we have been "against the war" for some years now--and lo, we suffer its champions to rise once more within our new government with little opposition beyond the pathetic weekly parades of signs on the sidewalk that have become an institutionalized part of the American scene, and which even some of the "respectable" anti-war persuasion consider to be the work of trouble-makers.
However vital to discourage future atrocities, however necessary for justice, however needed for the preservation of humanity, however essential for the reclamation of America's decency--prosecution for torture is an unpleasant process featuring such ugliness to offend our eyes, ears and stomachs, and all of which will be projected upon the world's stage.
With no stout champions for prosecution in our government or our mass media, there will most likely be insufficient momentum generated to move the unpleasant process forward. Many citizens will feel relief in being spared the hideous ordeal. But others, perhaps fewer in number, will suffer to realize an additional layer of guilt, that in not demanding the whole truth, prosecution and justice, they leave open the door to future atrocity and bear the shame of participation in national cowardice.