We Do Because We Can

By | December 18, 2014

We ‪#‎tortured‬ people who did not crash planes into the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. We tortured people who were later declared innocent. We tortured people who died from the torture. We tortured people who were our allies and working for us. We tortured people who had no charges filed. We tortured people with the made-up reason of “we might get information.”

We tortured people because we were angry, and fearful, and needed to lash out to punish someone, anyone, everyone who looked guilty–and a lot of people looked guilty to us. They had strange names. They had a strange religion. They had strange skin and strange tongues and strange lifestyles.

We went against our laws and customs. We broke our word. We abandoned our Constitution.

Nothing was accomplished through torture. We lost our soul. We lost our hearts. We lost the understanding of who we are as Americans.

We are now arguing–something I never thought I’d hear in my lifetime–that the death of innocent people is worth it if we think we might catch a guilty man, the far, far opposite of what we were taught in olden days about better a hundred guilty go free than one innocent man be punished.

The hell of it is that we didn’t do this all at once. There wasn’t a moment where one day we were a righteous, moral nation under the rule of law, and then suddenly we were amoral and atavistic.

But in this case, the line was crossed. The wall was breached.

We tortured because we _could_. And we did. Because we knew that we can do whatever the hell we want because we are the world’s superpower. No one can judge us because no one can withstand us. We have a military budget costing more than the next twenty-five nations combined–and we are at war with none of them.

And still, with all this power, all this might, all this military hardware, all this authority and obeisance–we still need to torture people. We don’t have a reason for it.

We just can, so we do.