The political repercussions of using or endorsing torture are profound. As the U.S. learned -- or should have learned -- during the Abu Ghraib fallout, political trust and respect are difficult to earn and easy to lose.
I toast the bravery and sacrifice of all those who decide to put the public interest before their own, who take action rather than turn a blind eye, and who pay the consequences long after they leave the headlines.
Torture is American. How do I know? I am a reporter who for years covered allegations of prison abuse and ill treatment in domestic U.S. prisons. Nearly every technique used at Abu Ghraib had a close, recent parallel in a U.S. facility.
Bob Woodward's new book Obama's Wars reveals that the CIA maintains a 3000-strong Afghan paramilitary force that conducts cross-border operations into Pakistan. It's news in the U.S., but Afghanis have known this for long time.
Twelve American soldiers charged with a total of 76 crimes, including the premeditated murders of three Afghan civilians and the beating of one or more fellow soldiers. Sounds like an outtake from Predator.
Unquestionably, America's political system needs a third voice, a third party. It has happened in Britain. But American conservatives are too querulous, and American liberals and self-styled progressives are too timid.
There's taxpayer money going into the hands of the very people attacking U.S. troops and the contractors who risk their lives for a paycheck. 260 of those workers took that risk and lost over the last year, and their names will likely never be known.
By starting the unorthodox practice of permitting family members to visit those in custody, there is an increasingly large group of Afghans who have experienced positive exposure to US personnel and operations in Afghanistan.