The long-awaited, much debated report on the United States' use of torture is out.
The debate over whether the report should have been released is now moot.
Many, including myself, expect that there will be some form of blowback, now that the report is out. Lives may be in danger. But, should that come to pass, it isn't the fault of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee that released the report. It isn't the fault of the report.
It's the fault of those who tortured, ordered torture, and condoned torture, in the first place.
Had the Bush administration been as adamant as the Obama administration has been about not torturing detainees, there simply would be no report to release. In fact, there would have been a lot fewer stories over the years about real and rumored torture, that only served as recruiting tools of terrorist organizations, like al Qaeda.
There are reasons that, on this website, I wrote no fewer than four times about the dangers of the use of torture tactics, and the harm it in which it put our men and women in uniform. There are reasons VoteVets released this video, from former Counter Intelligence officer Jay Bagwell, personally testifying to the fact that torture created terrorists that killed our troops. Back then, Bagwell talked about pamphlets depicting the prison at Guantanamo being on al Qaeda operatives that were captured. The long arm of Guantanamo stretches all the way to today, as ISIS dresses its hostages in similar orange jumpsuits.
There are reasons that veteran after veteran joined us in calling for a swift end to the use of torture.
One of those reasons is that we swore an oath to protect the Constitution, and all the principles it enshrines, including a ban on the use of cruel and unusual punishment, including torture. Most of us in the military understand that the United States signed on to the Geneva Conventions, and a ban on torture, as well.
Another reason is that we knew torture simply doesn't work. It can't be stressed enough: Torture doesn't work. We get a lot more information out of human intelligence. In fact, we didn't use torture to get the information we needed to capture Saddam Hussein, the "ace of spades" in the infamous deck of cards.
And, the final reason for us urging an end to torture, under the Bush administration, unfortunately, will come in the form of whatever blowback there is across the world, once this report is released.
We tried to sound the alarm about what harm torture could bring. The Bush administration didn't listen. Had they, we simply wouldn't be here, today.
If there is any positive to come out of the release of this report, and turmoil that may come as a result of facts being released, let it be, finally, a wake-up call.
Let it lead to the American people immediately disqualifying any candidate for president, in 2016, who won't clearly and definitively rule out the use of torture by intelligence or military, under their administration.
President Obama has corrected course, and been a firm hand against the use of torture, and other violations the Geneva Conventions. Whatever happens with this report, let it remind us of the dangers of undoing what President Obama has done.
Let it serve as a reminder of our duty to hold our elected officials accountable for what they do, or plan to do, in our name.
And let it remind us that the reasons against torture are more than just moral ones. They're quite practical, too.