Thursday, February 17, 2005


I found a story on MSNBC about torture, and why it's just not got legs anymore. Let me explain what I mean.

Gonzalez and Chertoff, the Attorney General and Homeland Security nominees, were approved without problem amid allegations of torture, or sanctioning of torture, or knowledge about torture happening.

John Kerry was sharply criticized during his campaign for accusing soldiers 34 years ago of committing atrocities such as torture.

So why is torture all of a sudden not bad anymore? If you can be politically vilified for getting upset about witnessing torture, what does that say about us? If stanch opposition to abortion is more important to Democrats to filibuster than approval of torture, then what does that say about us?

Torture is one of the basest, cruelest, most pointless acts that we can commit, and we condemn it in our enemies. It seems, though, that the same standards do not apply to us. We laud corporate whistle-blowers, or people who point out the failings and corruptions of government, but when somebody has the gall to go out and say that soldiers raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, etc., well, that's the line, isn't it?

We can seemingly admit that our business can become corrupt. We can admit that our government can become corrupt. We can admit that our enemies are bad for raping people, and for mutilating people. We can admit that private citizens are bad for committing acts of torture, such as the couple recently arrested in Utah. Why does this same accountability not extend to members of the military?

I appreciate the sacrifice made by the members of the military, on a very real level. I appreciate the stresses faced by them, and I appreciate that they do this for the good of the rest of us. I really do appreciate that. But appreciation and worship should be kept seperate. People should be judged by what they do, not who they are. Most soldiers are good guys, I think, and they do good things. But reprehensible actions should not be canceled out by being a soldier.

If we're going to be holding the rest of the world accountable and giving ourselves a pass at the same time, then who's going to hold us accountable?