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The Iniquitous Case of Gina Haspel: It Ain’t Torture if We Do It

Why is anyone shocked that Trump wants to put a known war criminal into being the head of the Criminals In Authority, otherwise marketed as the Central Intelligence Agency? This is what happens when you don’t prosecute people who broke the law. When you don’t prosecute war criminals and leave them in power, obviously they get promoted one day. I am referring, of course, to Gina “The Butcher of Black Sites” Haspel. One of her proud accomplishments in her long list of “credentials” is running a secret prison in Thailand where prisoners where waterboarded and tortured by other means we have never heard of. We can thank folks like Haspel for introducing the term hummus enemas to the public, a form of torture where the CIA used “rectal feeding” as a torture. But hey, it ain’t torture if we do it, right?

These people were all known to the Obama Administration. This wasn’t a secret. Everyone knew this was going on. The Obama Administration had a moral duty to prosecute these people. It wasn’t a choice, it wasn’t an option, it wasn’t even a responsibility. It was a duty. It was a duty to the rule of law and humanity. And Obama failed his duty to the human race and the laws this nation allegedly upholds both here and worldwide. Torture isn’t just against United States law, it’s against international law. But what was the response of President Obama? Basically, it was “well, that was the past. Let’s just move on. It won’t do any good to prosecute those people now.”

Imagine if they said that about mass murderers if they caught them a year after the murders? “Well, that was a year ago. It won’t do any good to enforce the law now.” Except it’s not about just enforcing the law to stop the active commitment of crimes. It’s about the fact that if crimes are not prosecuted and punished, there is no point to the law itself. If torture is illegal but no one goes to jail for it, the law has less weight than parking violations. In fact, average Americans paid more penalties for parking violations than anyone in the CIA did for torturing human beings. Think about that for a moment. The United States has basically said that parking longer than a two hour limit on a city street is worse than torturing people.

But this whole “let’s move on…” thing regarding torture. You’d almost think this was Obama giving counsel about a bad relationship ending rather than the torture of human beings. We weren’t looking to see who got to keep the apartment, we’re talking about justice for war crimes knowingly committed by the United States government! And if you don’t prosecute them, you have said the United States government does not follow the law both here and internationally. But we already knew that, didn’t we?

I heard it said that the Butcher of the Black Sites was following “lawful orders” from President Bush. Oh? Was she now? If that’s the case, that tells us who else needed to be arrested for giving unlawful orders. See, it was established by the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 that ordering the torture of human beings is not a lawful order any government can give. No matter how they want to gussy it up as “enhanced interrogation” or whatever, it is torture, and it is illegal. If it wasn’t torture, why where Japanese military officers prosecuted for waterboarding Allied POWs after World War II? Again, it has been established international law since 1946 that “we were following orders” is not an excuse to exonerate people from prosecution for war crimes.

This is exactly what happens when you fail to uphold the law. The criminals left in power are promoted and go on to do even worse. If Haspel got away with waterboarding, she’ll get away with worse. Worse has probably been done already. And the United States government wants to sit here smug and lecture the rest of the world about what is and is not a moral act?! The United States wants to claim Iran is breaking some law? Ha! The United States broke the law against torture thousands of times and not one single jail term for anyone involved! Lecture Iran, will you? Go find a mirror and lecture that. Click To Tweet

The entire Bush Administration were war criminals committing multiple felonies daily after the 9/11 attacks. The CIA itself is more or less a quasi secret police force and assassination team by which the United States government regularly breaks international law and gets away with it. The CIA probably has all the signed documents ordering the torture and assassinations from top government officials, which serve as insurance policies. If anyone tries to prosecute the CIA, those documents will probably be released to the press. Hence, one hand washes the other. The politicians get their dirty work done without being tied to it and the CIA has complete immunity from prosecution.

I don’t know where Americans are getting the idea that we’re “the good guys”. They act like this is some kind of TV Western and we’re the good guys wearing the white hats. But did anyone see Marshal Dillon on Gunsmoke waterboarding a stagecoach robber to reveal where his gang is hiding? This is childish and absurd. The United States is not the “good guys”. Good guys don’t torture human beings. We know that because German and Japanese military personnel who tortured people were executed after World War Two. Those who weren’t executed went to prison for a long time. But because the United States hasn’t lost a war to someone, it escapes trial for war crimes.

One day, the United States will lose a major war. This is just the law of averages. One day it will get into a war it cannot win and the other side won’t let the United States out of it with a ceasefire agreement. The United States will lose. And when that happens, the winner will put the United States on trial for war crimes. Top American politicians will go to prison. This is the only way the United States government will finally face the consequences. Because the government itself as it is now is corrupt and evil. To order torture is evil in and of itself. To carry out those orders is evil in and of itself. But to know torture happened, know it was illegal, and then refuse to uphold the law and prosecute everyone involved? That’s a worse evil. Why? Because you knew what was right and did not do it.

Administrations change but the policies of endless wars and inhuman treatment of civilians and combatants remain constant regardless of who’s in the White House.

When a government practices evil, covers up evil, but then admits the evil and is proud of it, there is a moral choice to be made. One must choose wisely in any dealings with such a government. Unless a politician is against torture, they don’t deserve a vote. I don’t care whether they are Democrats or Republicans. If you’re more interested in winning at all costs over the torture of human beings being prosecuted, you give tacit approval to the torture. Yes, I said it. The choice is yours. If some politician explains away the torture as Senator Dianne Feinstein did with Gina Haspel, that person has just said there is nothing morally wrong with torture as long as the government ordered it. There will be Democrats voting for politicians like this. They probably feel themselves morally superior to Republicans, too.

Americans tend to forget things quickly because many have such a short attention span. Consumerism sells instant gratification and puts forth the idea that nothing is worth waiting for. Not even justice. Therefore, we don’t get it. We don’t like it, but did anyone hold Obama’s feet to the fire about prosecuting war criminals? No. People were too swept up in the personality cult of Obama and he’s pretty much become to the Democrats what Reagan is to the Republicans: A mythic figure that accomplished absolutely nothing of lasting value.

Well here we are! A nation where war criminals are not just shielded from prosecution, but promoted to head the agency that carried out the crimes. How can anyone possibly call this place “the greatest nation on earth” without vomit rising up into their mouths after saying it?! That people go to jail here for some nickel-and-dime marijuana offense as torturers get promoted should clue everyone to the fact this place is the greatest hypocrisy on earth. And, I daresay, one of the most evil empires ever to rise because it successfully gets away with its crimes and no one is able to stop them.

Americans tend to let things like this fall through the Looking Glass until it manifests again in all its ugliness and horror to remind America about its moral failure. People just wanted the whole torture thing to “go away” and the Obama Administration did make it go away so we could “move on”. But here we are again, reaping the fruits of our action as surely as the cart follows the horse. The karmic consequences of our actions will manifest for decades to come. And then we wonder why? #WaterForInjustice

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Jack Perry
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Jack Perry

Jack Perry is a writer who lives with his wife in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. When talking about the ambitions and goals of the United States government, Jack warns: "Always Assume It's A Scam." Jack writes, bakes bread, and is a Path pilgrim and wayfarer of this world.
Jack Perry
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