What would you do? Do you release the Senate report on CIA torture?
I think the release of this report is part of the American DNA: transparency with the hope of improving, the quest of living up to the highest standards. That said, we’re unfortunately discovering that an inceasingly large part of the world population is not swayed by us. We’ve been told by President Obama, and many would agree, that America can’t lead like it once did. The world is too complex. The Cold War is over and replaced by chaotic struggles all over the globe. Just look at how our enemies are fighting ISIS, another target of ours.
With this backdrop, what are we hoping to achieve by releasing a report over which so many Americans disagree in the first place? Will this report be a beacon to the rest of the world? Wow, look at those honest Americans trying to do the right thing. Maybe.
The reality is that bad things happen in war. There’s an exceedingly thin line many times between that which is acceptable and that which violates the tenets of human decency. Likewise, what seemed wise in the past, especially in the fog of war, can be deemed inhumane today.
It’s nice and comfortable to be a purist, to sit in our secure and safe world and pass judgment on what arguably were questionable tactics to combat terrorism. But I also look at this country and how we shut down because of one day of horrific acts. At the time there was almost no one who didn’t think we were going to get hit again and soon. Then, years later in Boston, the city was shut down by two amateur terrorists. I think we need ongoing oversight and discussion of our country’s security strategy and tactics. But we also have to be honest with ourselves.
In the end, possibly the words to pay the most attention are from a man who has endured torure and gone on to become a great senator:
I understand the reasons that governed the decision to resort to these interrogation methods, and I know that those who approved them and those who used them were dedicated to securing justice for the victims of terrorist attacks and to protecting Americans from further harm. But I dispute wholeheartedly that it was right for them to use these methods, which this report makes clear were neither in the best interests of justice nor our security nor the ideals we have sacrificed so much blood and treasure to defend. We are always Americans, and different, stronger, and better than those who would destroy us.
Senator John McCain