Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Torture, American Style

How many of you remember the theme song for the classic 1970s television show "Love American Style?" What if we changed the lyrics a little to reflect our new reality (the tune is still the same)?

Torture, tor--ture
Torture American style
truer than the red, white and blue
Torture American style for me and you

And on a star spangled night my vic (my vic caught by me)
you can rest your head on my waterboard
out by the dawn's early light, my vic
I will break you by and by

Torture American style
for me and you

(modified from the lyrics of the song "Love American Style" by Charles Fox and Arnold Margolin)

So it turns out that the United States sanctions torture. My country tortures people, and it makes rationalizations for doing so. We have ceded the moral high ground that we've held for years. We are now following the lead of terrorists. People like Michael Smerconish argue that we have to fight fire with fire, no matter where that fire comes from. I think that we are reducing ourselves to the worst of our instincts. We are lowering our moral bar. We are showing that we no longer see ourselves as distinct and different from the worst elements on this planet. And I am offended by that.

I don't want people tortured in my name as an American. I care more about who we say we are, than diminishing who we are actually. We have tried to repesent an ideal to the world. We have said that we will give, even those who have fought against us, the benefits of our system of justice. That is something that made us stand apart from the rest of the world. It is something that gave all Americans a sense of pride.

I will never condone American torture. There is no excuse for subverting our values. There is no reason to cheapen this country's decades long position on this issue. It is a sad time for this country. And though I will never be ashamed of being an American, I am quite ashamed of the "leadership" of the last eight years. It makes no damn sense. We are better than this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agreed, though your frustration seems a little tardy. Both Obama and McCain (who has some experience in this area) have come out against it and I expect it to come to an end soon.