. . . [A] program that involved the harshest interrogation methods in US history.Torture justified and explained away. No surprise there. A phone call led US to bin Laden doorstep. Not that the method is necessarily effective, but that torture has been sanitised.
Officially sanctioned torture is better than random torture? Bin Laden was caught. Has terrorism, torture, general fear, for people within the U.S. and outside of it stopped as a result? I don't think so.
I think that outlawed methods are now commonplace, and I don't know if the twenty-first century will be a slow encroachment of another dark age or not. In the west, day to day living, is generally nice and easy, and if your country is big enough, there are pockets of population big enough, so that different points of view and lifestyle can exist.
Not so everywhere. And it is not a courtesy that is globally extended, either by the west, by other super powers, by bandits, thieves and rogues. International law stands for nothing. We knew that anyway. But it becomes more apparent day by day.
Ultimately, might is right and the military machine doesn't even need to convince anyone of the validity of its existence. If you don't like it, we've got a secret cell for you in a country, piece of land, far, far away from your home or mine.
Note: May 4, 2011: Glenn Greenwald always says it best:
But beyond the emotional fulfillment that comes from vengeance and retributive justice, there are two points worth considering. The first is the question of what, if anything, is going to change as a result of the two bullets in Osama bin Laden's head? Are we going to fight fewer wars or end the ones we've started? Are we going to see a restoration of some of the civil liberties which have been eroded at the altar of this scary Villain Mastermind? Is the War on Terror over? Are we Safer now?He goes on to say that they are rhetorical questions and feels that nothing very much is likely to change.
Note, May 5: Glenn Greenwald has more to say on the topic, and very well, as always. From his latest post:
It was striking to note in yesterday's New York Times the obituary of Moshe Landau, the Israeli judge who presided over the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. It's a reminder that when even the most heinous Nazi war criminals were hunted down by the Israelis, they weren't shot in the head and then dumped into the ocean, but rather were apprehended, tried in a court of law, confronted with the evidence against them for all the world to see, and then punished in accordance with due process. The same was done to leading Nazis found by Allied powers and tried at Nuremberg. It's true that those trials took place after the war was over, but whether Al Qaeda should be treated as active warriors or mere criminals was once one of the few ostensible differences between the two parties on the question of Terrorism.