Politics and Patriotism: Torture, Religion & Truth


This week the US Senate released a report detailing CIA abuses related to torture and other mistreatment of detainees.

Partisan lines are drawn around the issue of the disclosure of the report where some suggest that disclosure is un-American and aiding the enemy.

Suddenly it’s patriotic to be pro-torture and anti-truth.

Tim McVeigh would be saying “I told you so.”

The far right militia cry about the feds sending in the “black helicopters” is that the government lies and cheats.

Uh, they are right.

Facebook, Retribution and Lying

Facebook is full of  images of desperate 9/11 jumpers imperiled by the fire with captions suggesting torture is fair game as a form of retribution.

Many Christians believe that their religion is morally superior to Islam but this is just one more instance where they cancel each other out with dueling messages of hate and revenge.

These same folks that deploy Christianity so selectively do the same thing with the truth.

They are apoplectic over the assertion that Hillary lied over Benghazi and that the IRS lied over emails.

Very well.

Where is the outrage over the CIA lying to Americans?

It should matter that 17 of the detainees were tortured without permission.

It should also matter that over 20% of them were wrongfully held.

Apparently not.

Never a Good Time

There is never a good time to admit that you have been caught lying to congress, the president, and the citizens.

The same is true for having to admit not that you engaged in torture per se, but rather that you couldn’t even do it right.

The CIA’s own staff complained about mismanagement and poor quality personnel.

The FBI repeatedly said that the methods used were over the top and doomed to be ineffective.

They hid the truth from Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying that if he found out he would “blow his top.”

Jihadi Field Day?

There is bound to be a world-wide reaction not only to the torture but to our bungling and lying about it.

How do we expect western prisoners in captivity to be treated?

Better yet, just what is our justification for moral outrage?

Perhaps they will hurl a little scripture our way in the form of Galatians 6:7, “for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

The Proof is in the Telling

I saw a Facebook comment the other day from someone outraged that we were disclosing our crimes when it will make us vulnerable.

What utter bullshit.

What usually separates the United States of America from many countries isn’t that we don’t do bad things but rather that here the truth will eventually be known.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.”

Our post 9/11 search for a sense of collective national safety led us to perpetrate acts of terror under the guise of justice.

There are no doubt some ugly days ahead but they are tempered by the fact that we have divulged our transgressions as a first step in proving that we are better than that.





  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    I agree 100%, Eric. I would hope that even if I were a victim of terrorism I would not want torture on my conscience. “Do unto others…” This is a blight on our national conscience. We, as a nation, have lost our moral compass, and I would feel ashamed now, going abroad as an American.

  • Miguel Lima says:

    I just read your piece and I have to admit that you and many of the unethical liberals, in OUR country, have gotten it wrong. At what point do we finally admit that it is because of information gathering, no matter how it’s gathered , that many more attacks on US soil have not occurred. I’m not the biggest fan of political posturing and having served honorably for this great nations military, I take offense to your criticism of us wanting to stop terrorism. What ever did the helicopter pilots in Mogadishu do to anyone or how about the reporters or good will advocates that have been murdered on TV ever do the the Nation of Islam. Are you telling me that the freedoms we have, and believe me we have them or we wouldn’t be doing this, is a good reason for others to attack us and then blame us. How f—–g ignorant can you and your last commenter be.

  • Dennis says:

    “Partisan lines are drawn around the issue of the disclosure of the report where some suggest that disclosure is un-American and aiding the enemy.” I am not really clear why it was necessary to release the report at this point other than it was a politically inspired action by the Democrats, as part of their scorched earth retreat from the Senate.

    “Facebook is full of images of desperate 9/11 jumpers imperiled by the fire with captions suggesting torture is fair game as a form of retribution.” The way I see it is that at the time, enhanced interrogation techniques were necessary not for retribution, but to prevent the next large scale attack.

    “How do we expect western prisoners in captivity to be treated?” Well, I for one hope they are treated better than the Confederate soldiers who were held in POW camps. During the Civil War, tens of thousands of Confederate Soldiers were exterminated by the USG, even as Lincoln and Stanton were claiming the moral high ground for freeing the slaves. There is an interesting documentary, “80 Acres of Hell” which describes Camp Douglas in Chicago, IL, where the Federal Govt. treated prisoners held there in a similar manner to how the Japanese military treated our POWs during WWII.

    “Better yet, just what is our justification for moral outrage?” Excellent question Eric, how can we have moral outrage about some prisoners who had some water thrown in the face, when during the past 6 years, the President ordered almost 500 drone strikes against targets in Pakistan and Yemen, killing low level terrorist types and most likely dozens or hundreds of women and children hangers on. In addition to schawaking all of these terrorists, President Obama also ordered the extrajudicial execution of an American citizen and his 16 year old son. Having Feinstein call out the CIA for their enhanced interrogation while wading through the moral and constitutional sewage generated by the current administration is a bit hypocritical Eric, no?

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