I came back from work determined not to think about politics today. Alas, the internet… Today (and this will probably be true tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…), every post, status, headline and vlog relates to the report into CIA torture during the War on Terror.
The sheer variety of techniques revealed has shocked many. They include waterboarding, rectal feeding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and noise exposure… They range from the inventive to the ridiculous, the functional to the vindictive. People say that in the process, we have lost our moral superiority over the terrorists. In agreement with this, the dumbass Iranian President Rouhani found the effrontery to call America a ‘symbol of tyranny against humanity’ – a semi-literate burp of a phrase, but one that has found many a nodding head on our side of the fence. Naturally, there have also been hysterical protests in the lands of Sharia.
You know, I sometimes wonder about the general state of health in the Muslim world. They have held the pose of outrage for so long, their joints must be aching raw by now. Even before the report was published or the rumours circulated, standard opinion in the Middle East had us down as evil, ruthless conquerors.
Would that this were accurate!
It isn’t. The (regrettable) truth is that we have light-footed our way through a killing field to avoid hurting those who hate us. When we shoot, we fire with as much accuracy as the highest technology permits to avoid excess casualties. We have responded to the purest evil with a balanced mind, open ear and moderated instinct. Had we let our natural inclinations think for us, we would have carpet bombed the Arab world as soon as the sun rose on Sept the 12th. We didn’t, because we’re better than them. And this general kindness can only be paid for with something worse behind the scenes.
We torture the Afghan so we don’t have to bomb his village. We waterboard the Egyptian so we don’t have to arrest his whole social circle. These are messy and cruel short-cuts, but they are short-cuts around places they’d surely rather we didn’t go.