Saturday, May 28, 2005

Place the blame where it belongs 

Slate has a new Torture Feature web page here
It summarizes everything that has happened since 9/11 to turn America from the world's leader into the world's tyrant.
The article does use the "C" word, war crimes, and notes that "There are few slopes more slippery than that the one from small war crimes to large ones; any wartime action, however heinous, can always be justified by some perceived necessity. Once discipline is lost, it is nearly impossible to restore."
But I fault the conclusion. Instead of laying the blame for torture where it belongs, it wimps out and adopts a "collective guilt" conclusion.
First, the article blames the torture on Congress, becuse they haven't stopped it. ". . . the elected branches of government have exercised almost a total lack of oversight . . . Lawmakers have not taken any steps to ensure, for example, that if extreme measures are to be taken, this step occurs only after the White House and the Pentagon have directly authorized it and Congress has been notified, as it is about other forms of clandestine activity. Nor has Congress asked for more transparency at the detention facilities . . . The story of extreme interrogation practices is a story of a Congress asleep at the switch . . ."
Then the article blames the American public, apparently because they haven't protested enough. " . . . a slow slide from coherent, consistent standards for interrogation and treatment of prisoners to a sometimes ad-hoc, occasionally brutal search for information at all costs — should warrant public outcry. That it has not suggests either that this shift doesn't interest us because it affects outsiders, or that we no longer consider torture or near-torture to be beyond the bounds of civil conduct. "
Sorry, Slate -- I think you are the cowardly ones for refusing to lay the blame directly where it belongs -- on America's bloody-minded leaders Rumsfeld, Cambone, Meyers, Gonzales, Rice, Cheney and Bush.

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