Torture is abhorrent — Azam Gill
Change of Guard at the CIA in the offing
A serious change of guard at the CIA is in the offing, stentoriously led by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence since 2009. Heads will roll on the issue of the CIA’s post 9/11 use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) to pave the way for new heads to await their own turn.
Torture as the instrument of a democratic, civilized society in the pursuit of its goals deserves to be investigated and condemned in such a way as to ensure against its recurrence. Since the apple reportedly fell on Newton’s head, attention has been focused on the natural law of gravity retrieved from the incident. To date, this law having stood unchallenged, it should be applied with rigor in the current media spectacle over the American CIA’s EITs. Blame-shifting torture on the next lower echelon is only an enhanced version of ‘secretarial errors’, hiding behind which cowardly managers have historically pushed their subordinates over cliffs to cry victory and step up the career ladder.
Since the dawn of civilization, countries have had to rely on a smattering of rough men and women chosen to soil their hands so that others can keep theirs clean and wax eloquent, perched on high moral ground in warm living rooms without a thought for the price of this moral comfort.
These bruisers flit in the shadows cast by moral standards raised aloft by those who have never had to make such ethical choices. As long as such operators do not employ their dark arts for personal gain, they are considered loyal servants of the state. Their place in the gloom is secured by their employers. The contract is not a one-way street.
That, of course, does not mean they can torture people at will.
These employees are subject to a code of conduct. If breached, they are punished.
That’s the what, but demons dance gleefully in the how.
The punishments, which might consist of a variety of administrative measures proportionate to the crime, are administered in camera. Since in this case the over-zealous operators failed to obtain the desired result, they may also be charged with professional incompetence. In camera.
Making a public spectacle for moral ascendancy on the afternoon before a presidential election should raise more eyebrows than this writer’s. In the short-term, it might appease an avid public’s vicarious need to wash it’s morally dirty linen in public, feel good and then bite into a twinkie.
In the long run, this public confession-fest will insufficiently balance out the collateral damage from Mr Obama’s drones.
Instigating public indignation for political gain on one issue opens the door for opponents to enter the fray.
With the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism taking a supervisory look at the CIA, that’s what’s called a lose-lose situation.