For years, Americans were gripped by a debate over whether waterboarding, the purposeful introduction of water in people’s mouth, nose, throat and lungs, counted as torture. The debate was political. The facts were simple: Waterboarding was designed to cause intense fear and suffering through abuse of peoples’ bodies, and had been historically classified as torture.
Still, many Americans insisted that waterboarding wasn’t real torture. This conclusion was politically convenient to them. Their preferred leaders had instituted the torture after all.
Now, the U.S. Senate has discovered that torture by the American government went far beyond waterboarding. It included throwing people into icy water to induce hypothermia. It included smashing people’s heads against walls.
The Senate has also learned that the purpose of torture by the USA wasn’t to gain information about possible future terrorist attacks. The records show that by the time prisoners were tortured, they had already provided almost everything they knew, and what was left to be revealed under torture wasn’t useful.
The torture was conducted simply for the purpose of cruelty.
The CIA, which is supposed to be protecting us, has now turned against American democracy. It launched a spying operation targeting the U.S. Congress itself, in an attempt to find, steal, and destroy all information about the secret torture programs.
All of this is criminal behavior. It’s explicitly against the law. Yet, it has gone unpunished. Barack Obama, when he became President, said that the matter wasn’t worth looking into. He looked at photographs of torture by American agents, and decided to keep them secret – to participate in the coverup.
Democrats won’t be talking much about this news this morning. Bill Press will be talking about health care reform on his radio show this morning – but not the torture revelations. Stephanie Miller will be telling fart jokes on her show this morning, but she won’t acknowledge what’s been discovered about America’s torture programs.
It’s politically inconvenient now for both Democrats and Republicans to call attention to the purposeful practice of torture by the Americans government. Leadership from both their political parties was involved.
So, on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee will be holding a hearing at which it discusses whether information about the American torture programs should be made public – as if that’s a legitimate question. High crimes have been committed, and conspiracies to cover them up have undermined our democracy. There’s no national security need to justify keeping the torture evidence secret. Homeland Security has run amok.
As before, we can expect both Republicans and Democrats to vote to keep the information secret, and so the American people will move on to other news, such as changes in the hosting lineup of Dancing With The Stars.