What About the Victims?

Posted: May 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent piece dissecting the asinine assertions by talking heads and politicians that “no one wants an investigation” into the systematic torture regime implemented during the Bush years. His final paragraph raises the most important frame-busting point:

As usual, what must never be mentioned are the torture victims themselves, including the 100 or so that were actually killed while in U.S. custody. It can’t be overstated how self-centered, petty and amoral it is for the Tim Kaines and Erica Williamses of the world to insist that their little partisan desires justify telling the victims of our torture regime that it’s time for them to pipe down and accept that there will be no accountability for what happened to them because we have Important Things to do and can’t and don’t want to be bothered by “looking back.”  What kind of a country commits brutal crimes and then insists that they can’t be burdened with disclosure and accountability because they’re too busy or because it’s too burdensome?

Greenwald’s post raises the most important point yet made during this debate: the question is not, “Do the American people want an investigation and accountability?” (they do), but rather, “Don’t the victims of torture deserve justice?” The debate about torture investigations illustrates that we have a singularly hard time as a country approaching atrocities perpetrated in our name from the perspective of the victims. The issue at hand is not whether we feel like “moving forward.” It’s not about George Bush or Dick Cheney or Nancy Pelosi. The issue at hand is what we owe our victims.


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