By Benjamin G. Davis, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law, Advocates for US Torture Prosecutions
We now have the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Executive Summary of its Torture Report and for those who actually care about America, it is a nearly 600 page litany of American thuggery. The description of what was done to people completely in the custody and control of the United States by these thugs is horrific. To see these thugs in suits with the temerity to appear on television today and these past days and extol their work is to be subjected to psychological abuse. To watch the pandering of television people to these people – soliciting the comments of persons who in any normally constituted setting would be some of the defendants in an international war crime tribunal – is to see just how far our media have sunk in this country.
That the Director of the CIA is allowed to say even one word – let alone issue a CIA statement – shows the perverse depravity of our official national security establishment. For surely, if there was a day in which we would ask the CIA to shut up it would be today. But, these thugs are simply incapable of that kind of class.
I have watched the television shows today on different channels and seen people from the CIA and television commentators glory in the thuggery. Maybe I should go farther, and say, they have rejoiced in their depravity. They have bathed all those who read the report with their twisted vision of public service in which they proceed with extreme lawlessness while always finding some willing lawyer to help them in their depravity. And the lawyers stepping up to bat – including the Solicitor General of the United States (a post Thurgood Marshall held so many years ago) – have shown such a profound willingness to abet this thuggery that John Yoo is recast as a bit player among a group of despicable characters who dare to try to wrap themselves in the honorable title of public servant.
At one level, there is a sense of shock by some in the press by the sheer evil of the things that were done. While reading the evil has been painful, anyone with a passing knowledge of the depravity of which man is capable was grimly reminded of how revolting is official state evil.
While they and their defenders gloat over the devastation they have wreaked on America through their actions, I take some modest solace today in knowing that the release of this report brings us one day closer to their day of reckoning. For their defenses of what they did ring hollow in the fact of the horror that they were happy to unleash – some to make a cool $81 million.
If one wondered what some people were willing to do to make a dollar in this country, there is your answer in that report. Anything. If one wondered what some people would do to please their bosses, there is your answer. Anything. These thugs are so far from any semblance of a minimal and elementary respect for human dignity that they make the Crips and the Bloods and street gangs normally associated with thuggery like model citizens. Yet, we are asked to venerate these official torture thugs in their depravity.
It is their ability to inflict such massive pain at such an excruciating level that is brought to our attention as we are encouraged to be fascinated by their sheer perversity. It is the darkness of their depravity that we are encouraged to admire under the guise of some misguided vision of what patriotism is supposed to mean.
These thugs reveal the heart of the repressive force of a state – something that was precisely attempted to be channeled in the separation of powers and federalism. Yet, what we see is how a cabal of truly evil men and women of great intelligence can manipulate law and power to destroy any semblance of civilization. They represent a direct threat to the civilization we so cherish through their descent into these multiple levels of perversion.
That the head of the ACLU would broach the idea of Obama giving them pardons is to show how deep is the sickness in our system. The supposed defenders of rights are going straight to pardons rather than insisting on prosecution. What a sickness besets this country.
Our chattering classes, so enamored of sucking up to people in power, demonstrate an almost psychotic inability to express revulsion at what has been revealed. They seek reassurance that things were not so bad. And these twisted thugs are so rapid to reassure them. It is a dance with the devil.
There is a reason that there is an absolute prohibition on torture. For those who care to look, you are seeing exactly why that prohibition came to be. For humans have a level of depravity in them, a level of thuggery, that when industrialized by the state and across a worldwide frame with many complicit participants in many countries – one begins to see just what a torture state looks like. For all those who have been apologists for this abomination, I hope they are sleeping well tonight secure in their association with thuggery of international proportions.
It would be too much to hope for some twinge – some vague twinge – of conscience to present itself in these thugs. Not one iota all day long. Just the interminable pining of the torturer about how good a person he is. It is repellant.