How should we rank order the following in terms of their importance in how we want our government to behave: morally; legally, constitutionally, effectively? Of course, we want all these things, but when push comes to shove, as it does for an individual government worker in the CIA, a government agency, and a nation, what matters most?
On Constitution Day, let us remember that our American government was designed to put checks on the power of individuals in government who might slip out of control and begin making their own rules. The use of torture and cruelty was authorized by a handful of officials who believed they were exempt from oversight or review.
Most Americans do not know that their government engaged in practices that the civilized world considers war crimes. This lack of awareness is due, in part, to the fact that a comprehensive report of over 6000 pages on this topic compiled by investigators at a cost of $40 million remains classified and hidden away.