May 3, 2012 5 Comments
This week’s 60 minutes interview with obvious war criminal and moral reprobate (and, head of the CIA “interrogation” i.e., torture program) Jose Rodriguez was disturbing as hell, but fascinating to see how this pathetic little man justified his heinous actions to himself. The fact that this guy is running around free as if he’s not guilty of blatant and obvious war crimes really bugs me. Anyway, nice response from Amy Davidson:
Rodriguez did not forthrightly argue that torture—the contained drowning of waterboarding, slapping and stress positions, keeping detainees in a “cramped confinement box with an insect,” keeping them naked and awake for days on end by any means necessary, holding electric drills to their heads and telling them that their female family members would be raped in Middle Eastern prisons—was an awful necessity when there was no other option. Instead, he underplayed what he and his operatives had done (making suspects “uncomfortable”) and bragged about its use in proving the manhood of the torturer (“We needed to get everybody in government to put their big boy pants on and provide the authorities that we needed”; “The objective is to let him know there’s a new sheriff in town.”). He talked as if torture were an expression of strength, rather than momentary domination masking the most abject moral and practical weakness…
Lesley Stahl says, “Other people call it torture. This was—this wasn’t benign in any—any sense of the word.” Rodriguez responds,
I’m not trying to say that they were benign. But the problem is here is that people don’t understand that this program was not about hurting anybody. This program was about instilling a sense of hopelessness and despair on the terrorist, on the detainee, so that he would conclude on his own that he was better off cooperating with us.
I think that bit right there really suggest something about the mindset of this guy. That he could say it wasn’t about “hurting” anybody and in the very next sentence say “instilling a sense of hopelessness and despair.” Ummm, wow. And, how was it they were instilling hopelessness and despair? By repeatedly hurting (i.e., torturing) people. The rest of Davidson’s commentary points out the evidence that the FBI’s non-torture interrogatiosn were actually more effective.
I get why Obama let this all go, but I honestly feel like Obama’s own moral weakness in not calling these torturers (and a complicit American public) to task is the great moral failing of his presidency.