I was a teenager in 1972 when Deliverance debuted. It was a movie about four friends on a whitewater canoeing trip starring Burt Reynolds. The friends got separated in the backwoods, and the characters played by Ned Beatty and Jon Voight were taken at gunpoint by two hillbillies. In the most intense scene in the movie, Ned Beatty's character is forced to strip naked, he's slapped around by one of the hillbillies who humiliates him by making him squeal like a pig, and then he is sexually assaulted. Suddenly, Burt Reynolds steps out of the woods with his bow drawn and fires an arrow that puts an end to the abuse.
Ned Beatty should be thankful he was with Burt Reynolds and not Barack Obama. The president probably would have said, "You hillbillies go on about your way. We've got a lot of rough water ahead of us and we can't afford to look back."
It is disappointing to those who believed Obama's election marked the beginning of a reckoning with America's descent into torture. Rather than drawing a bead on impunity, the president has lowered his bow and let it go.
America has been long on rhetoric and short on action for too long. Torture is a crime and impunity is unacceptable. We can't win the fight to end what Reagan described as an abhorrent practice by maintaining a policy of official neglect of our own conduct.
The full article is available on the Amensty International USA blog: Deliverance from Torture.
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