I'm no lawyerposted by The Vidiot @ 7:30 PM Permalink Bumped and updated by The Sailor
Original Post by The Vidiot: I've never deleted a post before, but I've deleted this one. The more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off and it sounded wrong and silly.
It was based on the following.
Holder has said they won't prosecute the torturers because they were only doing what they were told.
"Those intelligence community officials who acted reasonably and in good faith and in reliance on Department of Justice opinions are not going to be prosecuted," he told members of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, reaffirming the White House sentiment. "It would not be fair, in my view, to bring such prosecutions."This got me on so many levels. How can a person do what they did? Aren't they human? Couldn't they have said "Hell no?" And since they didn't, they should defend their lack of humanity.
However, I was missing the point. The point is not that the torturers tortured, but rather, the system that they work within condoned torture and made it possible to torture. Anyone stuck in that system would have to do whatever the system compelled them to do. Once you embed yourself in a system, you really have little choice but to obey the logic of that system.
Look at the corporations that pollute our waterways. Individuals not in the system are appalled. But people within the corporation have all sorts of rationalizations that allow them to perform their jobs within that company. What's really sick is not the people who push the button that flushes the chemicals into our water system, but rather, it's the corporation itself that has an end goal that runs counter to the best interests of the environment and the people who live within it.
I hereby promise to not hit "publish" on an emotional post until it's fermented for a few hours first.
UPDATE by The Sailor: Vid, I think your original take was correct "How can a person do what they did? Aren't they human? Couldn't they have said "Hell no?" And since they didn't, they should defend their lack of humanity."
They should have said 'No!'
Some did. Some shrugged and turned their heads. Some went along, got promoted, got Medals of Freedom and cushy jobs. Some were prosecuted, a few went to jail.
They all, from the highest (Bush, Cheney, Rice) to the lowest should be tried for war crimes. And that should also apply to the
An actual trial, in an impartial court, where evidence and testimony are not coerced or obtained thru torture.
One of the courses I had in the Navy (late 70's) was on refusing illegal orders. The lessons of the Nuremberg trials were still very much a part of the training.
"I was only following orders" is not an excuse for war crimes, crimes against humanity, or torture.
I know the recruitment standards have changed, but I don't know if the syllabus has changed. But just because a culture or system has changed doesn't mean that torture isn't still wrong.