Our rogue nation

ART: US Torture Flag

A new book by Jane Mayer makes it abundantly clear the US government has been engaged in torture.

The book, “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” cites International Red Cross reports on the America’s treatment of prisoners.

Here are some excerpts from the NYTimes report on the book:

The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were “categorically” torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.

… Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.”

Other details from the book were revealed by the Washington Post:

According to Mayer, the analyst estimated that a full third of the camp’s detainees were there by mistake. When told of those findings, the top military commander at Guantanamo at the time, Major Gen. Michael Dunlavey, not only agreed with the assessment but suggested that an even higher percentage of detentions — up to half — were in error. Later, an academic study by Seton Hall University Law School concluded that 55 percent of detainees had never engaged in hostile acts against the United States, and only 8 percent had any association with al-Qaeda.

… “There will be no review,” the book quotes Cheney staff director David Addington as saying. “The president has determined that they are ALL enemy combatants. We are not going to revisit it.”

What’s sad for me is that these types of revelations aren’t particularly shocking anymore. I’ve long given up hope that there is any shred of morality in the Bush administration’s war on terror. What’s more shocking is that no one – except for Congressman Kucinich – seems particularly interested in doing anything about it.

The Democrats in Congress who refuse to hold anyone to account for these abuses now share the blame with Bush & company. They’re now full partners in the torture regime. It’s the responsibility of the legislative branch to punish the executive for breaking the law. So, there’s simply no excuse for six years of inaction.

But we can no longer blame only our politicians. Citizens of a democracy are responsible for the actions of their government. We still live in a democracy – if a limited one – which means our continued acquiescence to war crimes makes us war criminals.

Flickr art @ 3arabawy


  1. Sheepywoman

    I’m glad you spread the blame past the Bush administration. I think we are always ready to blame our elected officials but slow to take responsibility on an indivdual basis for electing them. And it’s important to see ourselves as the world sees us; a nation with blatent disregard for international and domestic laws.

  2. Ian

    This isn’t really anything new though. We’ve known for some years now that Bush has committed war crimes. I want to do something but I just don’t know what you can do.