Torture Is Who We Are (comment from dbeierl)

dbeierl's comment from December 11, 2014 can be seen in context if you click this link to theatlantic.com.

This last several days has been a real education for me; and a lot of incoherent pieces have mixed with my impressions of life over 63 years; and crystallized. I am rather abruptly convinced of just what you say here. I think we’ve drifted into real trouble, far far more than we’ve realized, and we have exactly this chance to fix it in fundamental ways or face the rapid end of the Great Experiment and the real possibility of becoming an international pariah.

A hopeful thing is having enough internal and external failures come together at once to help us realize how much they hurt. And thanks in my mind to both the overwhelming scope and consistency of the report and the fact that it was sourced entirely from CIA internal documents, coupled with what I will call Senator Feinstein’s heroism in forcing us to look at it, people who try to impeach it end up looking silly.

It precipitates the international crisis of confidence we’ve been asking for with duplicitous behavior in every continent over sixty years. The world has gotten too small to hide in and the Bush administration was I think unparalleled in demonstrating contempt; of our own laws, of international law, of other countries’ sovereignity, of our friends’ reputations, and frankly of reality. [That last one really hurts, because I remember when some official had an interview and sneered at the interviewer for being “one of those fact-based people” ; that we were so powerful that whatever we said became fact. There should have been a national horselaugh at that, why wasn’t there? That should have blown the administration out like cobwebs. We rolled our eyes and didn’t appreciate the glittering insanity informing that remark.]

Our credibility was due to collapse soon, but quietly. But this blew it open all at once and dropped our friends in the soup as well; at the same time that it demonstrated a solid strand of integrity still in our process, and with good timing added a big shock of pain and embarrassment to various other internal failures beginning to bubble over.

Our system is showing big flaws. It’s going to be a real challenge but we have a chance here to come together and figure out how to address them. Example, I think we need a recognized way for the populace as a body, given great need, to address any one of the three branches and quietly but firmly tell it to straighten up and fly right. Especially, once in a great while, to tell the Supreme Court “No. Citizens United is Just. Plain. Wrong. Fix it.” We’re clever folk when we can spare the energy from squabbling. I’m encouraged by people saying publicly that prosecuting the torture crimes had better not disappear off the table. I can’t see us having anything to say to anyone for the next century or so if we blow off the treaty that we made happen in the first place. And knowing now what a solid chain of precedent we have over a century’s time concerning waterboarding, all the logic chopping to make it look legal stops looking pitiful to me and heads to flamingly delusional.

We have a chance, but first we have to start working together. I would much rather hang together than separately.

The Atlantic - Torture Is Who We Are
Witness Against Torture protesters march in front of the White House. (Elvert Barnes/Flickr)

 

Remarks from peewee at igibud February 1, 2015:
I'm sort of new with the modern internet thingy.  I don't know how to directly contact dbeierl, the person who wrote this.  I consider him something of a kindred spirit.  The piece above is a reply to someone on the December 11, 2014 article entitled 'Torture Is Who We Are' in The Atlantic. I don't know how to contact dbeierl, and I also don't know much about intellectual property.  dbeierl's comment is on theatlantic.com, and I've copied it here to igibud.com.  Whatever.  The context of his comment would be so much outrage-of-the-moment of late 2014.  But he warns us that the torture report marked a shift in the second derivative of progress in the US.  I share his feelings about the Supreme Court case Citizens United vs. FEC.  Citizens United is America's most urgent problem.
You can click here to see dbeierl's remark in context on The Atlantic.  He posted other interesting comments there in the same vein.