While the Milgram Experiment in the 1960's demonstrated that almost anyone is capable of inflicting torture, most of us prefer to leave it to the experts. We carefully avert our eyes lest we see what government agencies have done in our name. We say nothing upon learning that White House counsel disingenuously redefined torture, thus giving the green light to interrogators to carry out heinous acts. Detainees not captured in uniform are somehow exempt from Geneva Convention protections, or so goes one of the rationalizations. After that it is but a tiny step to stripping them of their humanity. Finally, in the euphoria following the neutralization of Osama bin Laden, we even cast aside the "ticking time bomb scenario" justification, that fictitious emergency situation found only on prime-time TV dramas. The bad guys drove us to it. What further justification do we need?
What a dangerous line we have crossed.
As a person of faith, I could care less whether or not torture works. Because it violates the God-given humanity of the the victim and corrupts the perpetrator, torture is always abhorrent, immoral, and wrong. I measure the depth of my integrity not by how others treat me but by how I treat others, and I hold my country to the same standard.
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, established by the United Nations in 1998, and June is Torture Awareness Month. During this month, visit the website of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. View the video "Repairing the Brokenness." Endorse the call for an independent, nonpartisan Committee of Inquiry. Only until we know fully all that has been done in our name can we begin the process of reestablishing our moral standing and credibility.
Help abolish US-sponsored torture forever!