The consequences of this are not just what promises to be round after round of nationally aired and humanly humiliating defenses of the indefensible throughout the campaign, though. We're seeing the fruits of Bush's labor appearing in internationally shameful ways as well. From Sully:
Under the Convention Against Torture, member states can refuse to extradite citizens to another country where they might be subject to torture. A Canadian court has just denied extradition of an al Qaeda suspect to the US on exactly those grounds. We are no longer trustworthy when it comes to prisoner treatment:
The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a decision to halt extradition proceedings for an alleged Al-Qaeda arms supplier, citing the extent of US human rights abuses tied to his capture in Pakistan. A 3-0 ruling by the court ruled that a Toronto judge was justified in releasing Abdullah Khadr, the older brother of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp's youngest detainee Omar Khadr. Both are Canadian. Khadr's lawyer Dennis Edney hailed what he called a "victory for the rule of law." "Evidence should be (obtained while respecting) human rights, and it was not," he told AFP.
For me personally, there's no moral issue more pressing in this country than whether we are the kind of people who endorse or condemn torture. The idea that "it's ok when the good guys use torture" ignores the central oxymoron of such arguments: you automatically cease to be the good guy when you brutalize another defenseless human being. Full stop. No debate. Via that one decision, you cross over to the dark side.
More and more evidence suggests a key piece of intelligence -- the first link in the chain of information that led U.S. intelligence officials to Osama bin Laden -- wasn't tortured out of its source. And, indeed, that torture actually failed to produce it.
"To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a wide-ranging press conference.
Moreover, Feinstein added, nothing about the sequence of events that culminated in Sunday's raid vindicates the Bush-era techniques, nor their use of black sites -- secret prisons, operated by the CIA.
"Absolutely not, I do not," Feinstein said. "I happen to know a good deal about how those interrogations were conducted, and in my view nothing justifies the kind of procedures that were used."
I've posted on this topic before and pointed to sources that convincingly (for me) argue that torture doesn't actually work, and in fact, even with this most recent high-profile case (bin Laden) the flimsy arguments that it did work here are far weaker than the carefully constructed outlines that prove it didn't.
But one part of me sincerely doesn't want to even have that argument. Torture is so obviously repellent that anyone coming to its defense is morally suspect in my opinion. I mean, I can sit there and listen to people try to argue about ticking time bombs or "actionable intelligence," but all the while, the only thing I'm really thinking is "What the hell happened to your humanity? Are you truly that terrified of another attack that you're willing to become a monster to stop it?" Forget that that mind frame, one driven by fear, makes one a less effective analyst . . . so you stop a bombing, but because you choose to do so via torture you damn your own soul and that of your nation?
I don't get it.