I wanted to begin this post by saying never in my life could I have imagined that intelligent people would spend time trying to nuance their way around the evils of torture. But then that would be a lie. Things have become so twisted in the way we conduct political and social discourse within the last period of human history that you can count on intelligent people to completely forget the issue being debated and instead apply their gift of brainpower towards figuring out how to win the debate and score points.
The problem with the current torture debate is that this isn't a debating club, where the results are just a trophy. This is eating at our very souls.
We've seen a few talking heads (Sheppard Smith, Nora O'Donnell) actually go off script and throw up their hands in disgust during this last week but unfortunately we've seen more instances of those who want to be respected dip themselves in a bucket of tar so deep that the stain will never be removed.
Let's set aside the fact that for the better part of five years now everyone has known what was going on. We watched as our president lied to us on a regular basis about torture. Some screamed in protest but the "we do not torture" mantra permeated so deeply within our nation's fabric that it will forever mar how we and others view ourselves. It happened so frequently that the national nightmare became a national joke and now it has become our national legacy and threatens to tar the new administration with the same brush due to, what appears to be, some indecision on how to navigate through these dark and troubled waters.
I'm not arguing for trials and investigations here in this post. Honestly, I don't see the point, given that many of those doing the trying and investigating are directly or indirectly implicit in the way they handled themselves during this dark period. Sure political points can be scored and ratings can be won, and righteous indignation can be shared. But who is really left to be the judge? When I watch intelligent people bend themselves into pretzels trying to dance to the way the music used to be played over this issue it really drives home the point that our political and media classes have not only lost their way, but they have dragged the rest of them into the pit with them. It makes you wonder why the voices of the so called morality guardians in our religious leadership are so silent as well.
It would take a purge of biblical proportions in order to come close to thinking about putting this behind us and moving on.