What Do You Mean “We” Tortured Some Folks?

About a week ago, for the first time ever, the US government, through the comments of its Chief Executive no less, confirmed that “folks were tortured.” Simultaneously, he observed that there “was little need for sanctimony” given the heightened fears of the American public in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the enormous pressure that law enforcement officials were under to prevent future attacks.

The President’s official confirmation that “folks” were tortured and not just undergoing “enhanced interrogation techniques”–was remarkable. They were striking not so much because the public learned something new, but because they should have ramifications for those who designed, justified and endorsed torture as part the US’s National Security strategy to combat terrorism.

For those who provide the legal cover for torture, including John Yoo and Jay Bybee, there might be some fear that an official US confirmation of torture will have ramifications for them. But they claim not to be afraid of prosecution. Given the soothing, exculpatory tone of the President’s remarks and AG Eric Holder’s lapdoggish compliance, (despite his 2009 resolute acknowledgment that waterboarding is torture), they have every reason to believe it.

Yet, his remarks are notably deceptive on a number of fronts.

Read the rest at Salon.com.


Author: Falguni A. Sheth

I'm a philosopher and political analyst who writes about all kinds of things, from national security, US politics, race, terrorism, miscegenation, feminism, philosophy, and whatever else captivates my attention. My views are idiosyncratic. I'd like to believe they're carefully considered, and I'm not particularly interested in following crowds.

One thought on “What Do You Mean “We” Tortured Some Folks?”

  1. I’m no philosopher, so I need a little help here: Hasn’t one of the main endeavors of [Western] philosophy through the millenia been to establish principles of right and wrong that, in all times and places, could be known to be right and wrong? And here one had been established: torture is always and everywhere to be banned.

    So, my question (in light of the above) is this: Isn’t the President here overturning all that work in Western philolosophy? And (although I realize you’re not a lawyer, so we have to invite lawyers to chiime in here), isn’t the President thereby complicit in aiding and abetting torture inasmuch as he’s effectively trying to exculpate the “architects” and actual torturers?

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