If all humans have a sadistic, malevolent streak that after five hundred centuries is still not showing signs of being suppressed by enlightenment and rational motivation, then the star trek future is much more remote than previously thought.
The recent revelations about our government torturing people to get information out of them that might "save american lives" proves that we here in the western part of the northern hemisphere of our planet in 2014 CE are as barbaric as the huns and gols who swept into sleepy villages to rape plunder and pillage at will when the iron age was still young. A recent visit to central Europe showed me that at least one part of the world where plenty of bad behavior has been duly recorded and admitted to is trying to move forward and reinvent itself as civilized.
No such evidence can be found here as the neocons take to the airwaves to defend themselves as justifiably having used their Inquisition-like techniques to hurt, frighten, humiliate and kill if necessary in the furthering of their political goals. Dick Cheney has said the Senate Intelligence Committee report is full of crap, but no one has been able to attack the factual underpinnings of its conclusions.
The only defense we hear over and over from former heads of this or that agency or bureau or office of special operations is that enhanced interrogation techniques helped lead to information that helped lead to people who helped lead to other people who helped lead to Bin Laden. This is the same Bin Laden who had been a buddy in the past but turned to the dark side after the US continued its support of a corrupt and borderline terrorist state that is propped up in the midst of a middle east where we helped ourselves to lots of oil to fuel a profligate lifestyle and selfish economy to enrich the top one percent to ever and ever greater depths of depraved greedy behavior. Nothing wrong with any of that, no sirree. We are entitled to do these things and more because we are "exceptional."
The inescapable fact is that what happened was criminal. There is no context to forgive it. There is no excuse. There is no finessing or dissembling or rewriting or prevaricating that will make it right in any universe. If only Scott Pelley had asked George Tenet on CBS the other night something like: "So if 9/11 had not happened, would the use of this kind of torture be OK for America to inflict on perceived potential combatants or enemies?" Maybe then the moral bankruptcy of this crew of demonic beasts walking on two legs and speaking in think-tank jargon would be exposed for what it is.
But no one will corner them with a camera and microphone to ask: what kind of monster are you? What kind of monsters do you think the american people have become to forgive you for doing these things? The answers would-- and should-- scare the crap out of every one with a social security number. But I fear that a statistical majority of the citizens of america are on the wrong side of the Neanderthal-Vulcan continuum. The high ratings of Fox News and the smirking face of G W Bush still believing he saved the world prove that we are still barbarians.