The always insightful Tom Tomorrow is out with a new installment of This Modern World, We Tortured Some Folks. You should click on over to see the whole thing. But I thought this first panel was the best part of it. That government whistleblower is, of course, John Kiriakou. He is currently in federal prison. He got two and a half years for disclosing classified information. But that was only because the government couldn’t make a stronger charge stick. He is in prison because he disclosed government waterboarding.
I’m afraid that now, most people don’t know what to make of waterboarding. But until it was disclosed that we were doing it, the government had always been clear on the practice: it was torture. It was only when it was revealed that the government was doing it that all the apologetics started to fly. According to ABC News, “Water boarding was designated as illegal by US generals in Vietnam 40 years ago.” As Tom Tomorrow lampoons in his comic, “Brave patriots working under pressure made mistakes.” I think an actual hot war where there are two armies going at each other has far more pressure associated with it than the highly asymmetrical War on Terror.
But what works so well in the comic is the contrast: it was well meaning patriots who tortured many people, at least some of which were completely innocent. But the guy who revealed this misconduct was not a well meaning patriot. Good God, no! I mean, he actually embarrassed the government! A patriot would never embarrass the government. But in the heat of four years after 9/11 with detainees who were inside a prison that was itself inside a prison, of course mistakes would be made by patriots who were only looking after the good of the country and weren’t just functional psychopaths.
Obama has an amazing ability to show empathy and kindness to his political enemies. I like that. I share that! I’ve always been in favor of a 9/11-aftermath “truth and reconciliation commission.” I don’t want to punish the people who did wrong during this time. Let’s just think the best of them. But let’s admit what we’ve done. So I’m all for forgiving the abuses of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, I’m also for forgiving my own side. Obama doesn’t share that feeling. He seems afraid to stand up for his own side, most likely because he is.
Of course, John Kiriakou doesn’t need to be forgiven. He is an American hero. The Obama administration needs to apologize to him. But you can be sure that Obama won’t do that. And you know the reason, because it is the same reason for everything: Obama can’t do anything liberal because then everyone would know he was a liberal. And don’t forget: Obama is black! So if he showed any empathy for the poor and the weak or (God forbid!), someone who didn’t think the country should be torturing people, well everyone would know he was black, or liberal, or a human being. We can’t have that!
So America’s response to its previous torture is to put the man who told us about it in prison. Case close. Can’t look back! Gotta look forward! You remember the Obama slogan:
Via The Daily Show, by Bill Wright, Indianapolis, Radio X in Basel, Switzerland