Four years ago today, smack dab in the middle of the Bush years, a visitor to Irregular Times named Kevin made this remark about allegations that people had been tortured by agents of the U.S. government after being dumped into a system of indefinite detention without charge:
I refuse to apologize for the mistreatment of some friggin’ terrorist thugs who cry foul when someone calls them on their agenda. It is funny how these f**ks are only brave when it comes to blowing up civillians and buildings, but oh Lord, once they get caught and interrogated, their true cowardice shines through like the midday sun.
Funny? Ha ha?
Since then, the allegations of U.S. government torture of its detainees have been repeatedly shown to be true. And as the years pass, it becomes more and more clear that large numbers of those detained indefinitely without charge are not terrorists. They’ve been put there on the basis of fabricated evidence. In many cases, the government has finally acknowledged outright that large numbers of its indefinite uncharged detainees had no plans whatsoever to take up any arms against the United States. They’ve been released by the hundreds after years and years of “special interrogation” without any charges whatsoever.
It takes a smart Brit to remind us Americans that in the country we lived in before it was hatcheted by the Military Commissions Act (after indefinite detention had already begun), people taken by the government were innocent until proven guilty.
It’s reasonable to consider whether you’d be willing to torture a terrorist. But there’s a prior question you have to answer before you get to that one, one raised by the real history of hundreds of non-terrorists picked up and tossed into an American system of detention and torture without charge:
Are you willing to have innocent people tortured so that you can feel safer?