“It’s Just A Matter of Time Before [Torture] Spills Back Into Domestic Territory. Historically, It Always Has”
What should we make of the news that Americans are being arrested and treated in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago … including:
- Being held in secret
- Not even telling a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held?
We explained last December that torture and other war on terror excesses spills back into domestic territory and that – historically – it always has …
Military and constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley notes:
The cost of our torture program — and the failure to prosecute a single official for it (or the destruction of evidence and false statements revealed in its aftermath) will continue to cost this country dearly. Countries like Iran, North Korea, and China have already cited our use of water boarding to defend against their own abuses. When our soldiers or citizens are water boarded in the future, countries will play back Cheney’s words and others to say that such abuse is not torture. When we demand that officials in other countries be prosecuted for torture, they will mock our hypocrisy and own history.
Indeed, our enemies have already tortured Americans because we did it first.
Matthew Alexander – a former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – wrote in the Washington Post:
I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.
And see this.
Torture isn’t just putting Americans in harm’s way abroad. It’s also going to come home to haunt us.
Retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce wrote recently:
To practice torture is to self-identify as a repressive police state, even if the practice is reserved only for conduct outside one’s own borders. But it’s just a matter of time before it spills back into domestic territory. Historically, it always has.