Conscious Flow Radio

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Big Lie About Torture

US soliders using "water torture" (now called waterboarding) on Phillipino prisoners after the USA invaded that country.

The story goes like this: The US didn't torture until the Bush gang came to power. Some say we're a nation of laws and criminal investigations are the only way to return to our virginal past; others share the same objective but reject prosecutions as needlessly divisive; a third group advocates torture as the new post 9/11 norm. A running theme in the liberal commentariat is that things have gotten much worse. But have they? Glenn Greenwald reminds us that even Reagan opposed torture, so see how low we've fallen.

It's certainly true that Reagan, like most leaders, regularly violated the principles he espoused [eg, opposition to torture] and sought to impose on others, but still, there is an important difference between (a) affirming core principles of the civilized world but then violating them and (b) explicitly rejecting those principles. Doing (a) makes you a hypocrite; doing (b) makes you a morally depraved barbarian.