Due to a bill that passed in the Senate today, I want you to understand just what you’ve been supporting since electing George W. Bush as President. I suspect that you’ve bought into the drumbeat, forced into your consciousness, that Democrats are terrorist sympathizers and are interested only in “cutting and running.” But let’s look at what today’s legislation has produced.
The United States now legitimizes torture. Despite evidence that tortured individuals will do or say anything in order to make the torture stop, the government believes that it can be like a great big Jack Bauer and beat the evil out of anyone it wants to. Today’s legislation gives them the power to do it. Legally.
“But,” you may be saying, “that’s not going to affect me, so why should I care? It’s all happening on the other side of the world.”
However, it’s likely going to happen to someone you know who’s serving the United States over there. Our government has just given a free card to any terrorist group that kidnaps American soldiers that says, “Torture our men and women, because we’ll do the same to you.” It’s bad enough that our government, as admitted by the President, has been rendering people to secret prisons for the past year (or more). Now it’s legal.
So, instead let me bring these actions home. The powers granted by the House and Senate this week give the President of the United States singular tyrannical power. Let’s suppose, next year or in ten years, that someone calls the government – the NSA, Homeland Security, CIA, FBI, whomever – and says that your spouse or your child participated in terrorist activities. It doesn’t matter to what extent those activities entail, or even if it’s true; the call is made.
The government, acting on behalf of the President, can arrest your spouse or your child and detain them. Detention could mean being sent to the facilities at Guantanamo Bay. And then, because of the laws passed today, you may never see your spouse or your child again. He or she would have no right to, or method to, refute the charges; he or she would not even need to be told what those charges were. While in indefinite detention, your spouse or your child could be legally subjected to torture. Not that you’d ever know about it.
Of course, this could happen to you, too. It’s all up to the President, currently the man who’s done more to damage this country that Bin Laden or Al Queda could have ever hoped.
I’m pissed and demoralized and wonder how the simple question of “Is torture okay?” turned into a yes.