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The Two Faces of Torture in America

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Nicolas Carranza is due to go before U.S. District Court today for crimes against humanity. One of these charges is for torture during the 1980’s in El Salvador.

On the surface, this would seem like a just event. In a lot of ways it is. Those who commit crimes like this, as well as those who allow them, should be held accountable. For America to take him to trial is hypocrisy.

Though, for the most part, only lower enlisted personnel were charged, America committed torture in Iraq. More than likely it was accepted policy. Whether approved by official channels or not. It happened, there’s no doubt.

Members of the military are at the present time being investigated in Afghanistan for torture and desecration of remains. Several months ago a civilian bounty hunter, who claimed to be connected with the CIA, was charged with torture there as well.

The United States has made it a habit of sending people to countries that allow torture during investigations. In this way it believes that this relinquishes the government from any responsibility. It does not! When someone is snatched off the street of one country and sent to another to be tortured in your name, you are responsible.

Currently the administration is trying to convince Congress to allow torture by CIA agents. At present they are only allowed to observe, while it’s committed in our name.

This is another step in the wrong direction for America. The world already screams that we are two-faced. They claim that we make rules for others, but don’t follow them ourselves. This is becoming more true everyday.

The United States is opposed to our troops being tried in the World Court for crimes they commit overseas. The excuse that is given is that we will try them ourselves. To put it simply, we don’t. Yes, we may charge a few non-coms and a reserve officer or two. We don’t charge the people that are at the root of it, though. The people who allow it.

In the World Court those people would be held accountable. The World Court has the authority, if we sign on to it, to go to the top. This is what really scares the current administration. It won’t stop at the lower enlisted level.

Nicolas Carranza will more than likely get a fair trial in America; at least, as fair as one can get under the circumstances. His going before the court for crimes he has committed is a just thing. For the trial to be held in the United States, once again, shows how two-faced we are as a nation.

We helped Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan when we were worried about the Russian threat. Today we call them the enemy. The enemy didn’t change, we did. How far are we willing to allow ourselves to change?

If we want to be able to hold our heads high as a nation, we need to stop being hypocritical about the things we do.

To try people from other countries for torture, we need to stop doing it ourselves. If we are going to charge people with killing civilians we have to stop. To keep our people out of the World Court we need to charge the persons responsible. Not just the lower ranks.

America, in theory, is a country of, for and by the people. If the country is seen as two-faced, in the eyes of the world, so are you. ED/PUB:LM

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About Paul

  • Unfortunately, hypocrisy is one of the tenets of power – unethical as it may be.

    How is a US District Court trying a foreign national for ‘crimes against humanity’? Isn’t that the job of the International Criminal Court, of which the US is not a signatory?

  • You’ve got an undeniable point about the hypocrisy. Expect parsing about “state-sponsored” even though, it will be said, that it’s unclear in both cases whether it was.

    911 changed everything. !!!!!!!

  • 9/11 changed nothing, really – y’all are still insular, and concerned only about local effects of global problems, no offence meant

  • To #1. The United States has in the past tried people for crimes committed in another country. To the best of my knowledge this started with the end of WWII. I could be mistaken.

    To #2. The only thing that 9-11 changed was the ability of the neo-cons to put into action the plans that they have been working on since the Reagan era. The way we treat others, and our being two-faced about what we say and do, has not changed in the slightest.

  • Charon

    One must not forget that the U.S. is also putting a man on trial for attempting to assassinate Bush. The evidence against him was obtained by torture in a foreign country. More here; http://tinyurl.com/db5os

  • Comments like “America committed torture” are too general and verge on propaganda … (scary music) … “America – Land of Torture!!”

    America isn’t the Third Reich or Stalin’s Russia. There is still due process.

    People who try to damn the entire administration over Abhu Ghraib haven’t a shred of evidence to support some mass conspiracy in favor of torture. They can surmise and speculate all they want, but hard proof isn’t there to support finger pointing at Bush and upper eschelon brass.

    I totally reject the torture that went on in Abhu Ghraib under an American flag. It was a disgrace, and heads need to roll. But as for Nicolas Carranza, yeah I think America can try him without a trace of embarrassment. For one thing he is a naturalized U.S. citizen, a detail that hasn’t been mentioned.

    If you’re keen on delivering the world from torturers, there are a lot of countries out there that use techniques America hasn’t even dreamed up, let alone employed. Try Iran and Syria for starters.

  • To #6. The CIAs ‘School of the Americas’ is where the South American (as well as other) torturers are trained. We claim to of disbanded it. In reality we just had it renamed. To say that there are countries out there that use techniques that we haven’t even thought up yet is naive. Believe me, we’ve thought them up and use them. The people that actually torture take great pride in their creations.

    Nicolas may be a naturalized citizen. It has nothing to do with the ‘evidence’ being obtained by torture. You can get people to say anything you want using it.

    As for trying him without embarrasement. How can one condemn torture on one hand, and use it to obtain ‘evidence’ with the other without embarasement?