Amidst the looming and interweaving topics clouding American judgment on what we really should be dealing with, let's dispose of the torture situation.
We cannot rule torture completely out in all situations.
We cannot make it standard operating procedure. If torture is going to be used, a clear line of responsibility should be drawn. Bush did know and approve of torture. It was 'legalized' by a series of letters by military lawyers, Rumsfeld, and Rice. Bradbury and Bybee are the patsies so everyone higher could keep their names out of the fire. This is the greatest political legacy Bush left, the Domino Demagoguery. Every ill the Bush Administration faces is simply the work of some dynamic undersecretary or demi-God official that got all of Bushie's good intention turned around. We remind you not out of spite, but because we should all be aware when governments at the state and locals levels echo this strategery.
We cannot torture out of emotion and without just cause. The biggest problem with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay torture techniques was that it was done not only by CIA officials but also by untrained US soldiers, and privately funded, independent security forces. This loose approach to the collection of information lead to lots of bad intel. We stormed into innocent homes and friendly villages, bombed country sides and empty bunkers because our detainees wanted the torture to stop.
We are fighting a war without borders, without generals, and without a long term objective. It is a fallacy to believe "We are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here." That is true only to the extent that our deployed soldiers and overseas citizens provide closer targets. What the US needs most is the spread of our most basic conviction: That America is good. Not every citizen is brave enough or equipped to play ambassador in the Middle East. So we should be damn grateful to soldiers that both learn the significance of Muslim and Arab; but also teach, by example, the valor and honor of being American. Indeed, they must be better than a large number of us. Counter-insurgency implemented by Gen. Petraeus will prove to be ineffective in the short term but possibly the solution to permanently shifting developed Islamic countries over to the side of religious tolerance and vigorous trade. Iraq will no doubt erupt once US forces leave. It will be short-lived however, as the majority of Iraqis want to return some semblance of regular life. Seeds have been planted, and they see the next obstacle as standing shoulder to should with nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Gen Petraeus' problem is now recruiting soldiers who can jive with the mixed-in, ambassadorial, counter-insurgency strategy that puts US soldiers in direct contact with local populations in order to shift their allegiances from Taliban to us, the Peacekeepers.
Now, What We Should Really Be Worrying About. The Threatdown for Obama's Administration and the forseeable future.
1. Right-wing Agit-prop
2. Iranian Nuclear Weapons
3. The Budget and Banking Pitfalls
4. Left-wing Agit-prop
5. Russian Military politicking
6. Taliban operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
7. UK Conservative party and Chinese financiers sabotage
8. Unstable countries such as Pakistan and Somalia