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The "Poor" Terrorists were Tortured?

By       Message Dan Cooper       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

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The toxic political climate in America today dictates that as soon as one end of the political spectrum says or does anything, the other end feels pressure to instantly reply. This article is an example. And while the right is just as quick to respond, it seems they are not very effective in coming up with logical responses. Yes, their responses are appreciated by their intended audience, as can be seen in how frequently Internet memes circulate with their talking points emphasized to edify that audience. And the hot topic to spout off about right now is torture.

The left is rightly concerned about what waterboarding and other techniques have done to the credibility of the United States. The right stands firmly opposed (as usual) to this and any other left-sponsored point of view. So it is not unexpected to find them sarcastically criticizing the president's words on the subject of torture, and creating memes to address the "obviously weak" view from the left. The problem, as usual, is that they fail to understand what that viewpoint actually is.

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Currently there is a meme circulating decrying the "weak-minded left" for its inability to see how people really feel about terrorists. The meme displays a blow-up of the photo of a man jumping from the north tower, taken during the 9/11 debacle. Associated Press photographer Richard Drew is credited with the photo, apparently the only one that depicts one of the scores of unfortunate people (perhaps as many as 200) who jumped or fell from the towers that day.

The meme in question states its emphatic response to the left's interpreted silliness with this sad photo and the words, "This is why I don't give a damn how we gathered information from terrorists." If they could see past their own blinders, their own misguided talking points, they might realize that nobody in this country is terribly concerned with the terrorists who were tortured. That is not the point and never was. To see this issue of what we sanctioned and did--an issue now exposed for all the world to examine--as limited to concern over the victims, is to see nothing at all. Attacking the left for "caring too much" about the "poor terrorists," is like attacking the right for their stance on the second amendment because they care too much about the poor criminals who use guns.

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Note to the right: Turn off Fox Noise; remove your blinders for just a moment; and take a look around for a change. It won't hurt. I promise.

Forget the fact that the Black guy in the White House has dissed your last president's administration and your feelings are hurt. Forget the obvious fact that torture has had a bad name for centuries now. Forget that torture doesn't really accomplish what your last administration believed it would. Forget that role models like the Marquis de Sade tried it for years and never got much truth out of his victims. The information gleaned from torture is among the least reliable you can get. Forget that you don't pity the terrorists enough to care about how we got information of any sort from them. Just try to focus on one little fact: We are responsible for our actions. Do you remember that little moral principle? What we are talking about here is what YOU and YOUR OWN COUNTRY do or don't do.

What we did, we did to ourselves by the approval of torture tactics. And make no mistake, the damage is done. Morally, we have ceded the high ground. Getting it back is something like trying to un-ring a bell. Our leaders took us down an ugly road, and it is one that we cannot deny or cover up with more lies. We are going to have to face the facts and live with what we have sanctioned. Morally, we may never recover whatever high ground we once may have held. And it will not be easy to live with the shadow of our actions. Just ask today's German citizens what it has been like trying to live down Germany's embrace of Nazism. But showing the world that we admit our mistakes and taking action to punish those responsible would constitute a significant start in the right direction.

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A senior human rights official from the United Nations has called for the U.S. to prosecute those held responsible. That will be a bitter pill for many to swallow, but swallow it we must. And the sooner the better.

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Dan Cooper is an award winning freelance writer/editor living in the Texas Hill Country. He has worked in news and sports journalism and is currently working on several projects, including an autobiography and the editing of a California Gold Rush (more...)

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