The U.S. is about to release the Senate report on the use of torture on prisoners during the Bush Administration. Although previously classified, the redacted report is expected to conclude that no significant intelligence was obtained through brutally torturing prisoners. I am sure some Americans who saw “Zero Dark Thirty” will insist that torture was effective, and war criminals such as Dick Cheney will insist that torture was not only effective – it was fun!
The reality is that the moment we began to torture prisoners was the day the terrorists won. They beat us. They accomplished their mission of transforming America and destroying whatever moral argument we retained. The moment we began to torture prisoners, we became no better than the terrorists.
The fear of terrorists was exactly what they wanted … fear so blinding that we ignored international laws, our own laws and began to willingly forfeit our Constitutional rights. They didn’t take our rights or our character – we gave it away. When we should have been less afraid of another 9/11 than of our response to that fear, we lost our perspective and lost the “war.”
The Senate report on torture is just another reminder of that defeat.