[T]he CIA has used a series of six increasingly harsh interrogation techniques
that begin with a slap to the face and end with ... water boarding, in
which a prisoner is made to feel he is drowning. President Bush and the
CIA have repeatedly maintained the procedures are not torture and have saved
American lives. Human rights groups maintain the procedures constitute
... torture, and the U.S. military has banned its personnel from using
water boarding. Today's congressional deal, if signed into law, would
allow the CIA to continue the six techniques and to continue to run secret
prisons overseas for select terror suspects.
In short, if this "deal" becomes law, the American people, via our representatives in Congress, would be legalizing techniques banned by the U.S. military and considered torture by most of the world. The CIA would get what it wants, assurance that its agents would not one day be prosecuted for war crimes, and the President would get what he wants, Congressional approval to allow "the program" to continue in its current form.
As Glenn Greenwald notes,
the only genuinely important fact one needs to know about the "compromise"
reached by the glorious leaders of our Ruling Party: namely, the President
had only one objective with these "negotiations," which was to ensure that
the CIA's torture program could continue, and that goal has been fulfilled
in its entirety.
Tristero, one of the contributors to Digby's blog, summarized the significance of this "compromise" nicely:
- How does it feel knowing that your government will pass laws permitting the
violation of the Geneva Conventions against torture?
- How does it feel knowing the taxes you pay from money you earned are going
towards the salary of legally sanctioned torturers?
- How does it feel knowing that the only political party with an organization
large enough to stand in opposition to the American fascists in charge of this
country's legislature and executive were actually boasting that they were not
going to get involved in one of the most important moral debates of our
- And how does it feel to have George W. Bush, that paragon of moral probity,
mental stability, and well-informed intelligence, granted the legal right to
determine what is and isn't torture?
I'll tell you how I feel. I am outraged and ashamed.
The Russian Proverb, which states that "you should choose your enemies carefully for you will become like them," is eerily true today.