I've been planning to do a post for a week now about torture, and the Obama Administration's decision not to prosecute the people who betrayed us by authorizing and conducting torture.
I was going to write that I supported the President's decision, just as I had supported President Ford's decision to pardon Richard Nixon. Nixon deserved to go to jail, but real life is rarely as clear cut as that. There were more important purposes to be served by taking him out of political discussion altogether. The country needed to get beyond Nixon as quickly as possible, and any trial would drag out for years.
I saw the non-prosecution of torture in the same way. Both major candidates for President denounced torture. It was an ugly episode in American history, brought on by morally corrupt people. But since the body politic was agreed on this issue, I couldn't see the benefit to the country of punishing the perpetrators. I could see where such punishment could do more institutional damage (to the Central Intelligence Agency, for example) than good.
Today Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former director of the CIA, appeared on the bogus news network to say President Obama had described "... the box within which Americans will not go beyond (sic). To me, that’s very useful for our enemies, even if, as a policy matter, this president at this time had decided not to use one, any, or all of those techniques.” [My emphasis.]
Senator John Ensign, a member of the Torture Party, went further on CNN's "State of the Union":
The harm is that if we ever return to those policies, one is they can train against them now. Do we really think that having advanced interrogation techniques is something we don’t want to use if we find Osama bin Laden?Let's be clear: when Senator Ensign is saying "advanced interrogation techniques," he means torture; he just doesn't have the courage to say the word.
These men think torture is not a policy for "this president at this time," but may be something we "want to use if we find Osama bin Laden."
What do we have to do to make sure we never become a torturing country again?