"All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights..." We may not live this creed every day; surely we have fallen short. But to deliberately betray it, especially for gains which are "unknowable," is a betrayal of our very identity as a nation.
Some political events mark their importance less by their content than by their timing, circumstances and presentation. That is the case for the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture. It contains little new to the attentive observer and none of that is of major consequence.
The Cold War against Cuba not only made life worse for ordinary Cubans. It also diminished America's own democracy and undermined its lofty spoken commitments to human rights and the rule of law.
In the end, the question remains not one of torture, nor even one of truth, but one of lasting consequences. Not for the victims and the perpetrators, but for citizens of large democracies.
It's way past time for the rest of us to let Cuba as it is, imperfect though it may be, like the rest of us, find what future it can.
Ali Soufan is a former FBI agent who's spent a decade speaking out against torture. He helped expose CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques," and left the Bureau partly because of the agency's excessive use of it.
President Barack Obama just spoke on the telephone with the leader of Cuba to finalize the two countries' new relations -- an event that hadn't happened in over half a century. The Cold War is now almost completely a matter of interest only to historians, to put things into context.
People everywhere now see torture as a quotidian trope for American behavior in the world. Hence the cartoon, by the incisive artist Peter Brookes, that is reproduced at the head of this article, showing Lady Liberty hard at work waterboarding.
As Yale law professor Stephen Carter pointed out in an interview on an NPR broadcast Dec. 13, "It strikes me that you can have a program that is immoral and also occasionally produces good information."
EIT - Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. This is the CIA's swell euphemism for torture. It's also a portable concept that can be applied to other noxi...
Guantanamo is a powerful reminder that language is an instrument of power, equally capable of humanizing and dehumanizing others. Guantanamo itself, with its strange, off-the-books location on Cuba and its strict policy of secrecy, bears witness to the impunity of the powerful.
Below is the original version of the Meet the Press interview before Cheney's people threatened Todd with a very cold, wet death if he didn't destroy it and re-interview him. Thankfully, Kim Jong-un's hackers were able to locate the original and make it public.
The issue is not whether torture works or does not. I believe it does not work. But any cruel and unusual punishment is destructive to the legitimacy and credibility of American values. The Bush 43 White House should have known better.
The Senate torture report shows that detainee abuse was used not as a last, but sometimes as a first, resort after 9/11. Torture was executed not in a painstaking, precise manner, but by interrogators who lumbered casually and carelessly into it.