From TPM Reader CR:
One odd thing about this torture debate is that it’s all about *us.* Whether we committed a crime, how it affects our collective soul, how the wheels of justice ought to move (if at all). But nobody is talking about the victims—it’s as if torture were analogous to smoking the marijuana you grew in the woods behind your house. Something technically illegal, but something that only hurts yourself, so everybody else should just butt out.
But what nobody is talking about is who (apart from super-duper bad guys KSM and Abu Zubaydah) actually *was* tortured, how many people were tortured, whether any of them were children, what the physical and psychological results of that torture was, how many people died as a result of that torture, whether any of these people have since been recognized as harmless, and whether any of these people were American citizens.
Late Update: TPM Reader ZZ responds:
Following up on your post from CR, how has there not been more focus on OUR people who were actually asked to do these horrific things?! What becomes of the people who waterboard the same man 183 times?
Asking American … to commit these heinous acts was a crime against them, as well. And their voices should be a part of this story and our sense of collective outrage.
TPM Reader MB disagrees:
CR raises some questions that merit consideration, but I think miss the point. If all of those questions were answered, and it came out that none of the detainees died and none were harmless or children or American citizens, does that make the torture okay? Of course not. Having any of those questions answered the other way only raises the outrage level, but does nothing to change the fundamental facts about morality and the rule of law.
In fact, I find it odd how few people are talking about the other ways this story *does* affect us. Give the government the freedom to torture, and they will someday use it on *us*, if they haven’t already. Torture is a fine recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, which creates enemies for *us*. And so on.
TPM Reader CH wonders what became of justice for all:
I think there is a significant issue not being addressed in any sort of sufficient manner; namely, there were several people prosecuted and convicted as a direct result of the policies of the people who signed off on torture. These people were [I hate to say it] thrown under the bus as “a few bad apples”. What is to happen to these folks? How come the policy makers, notably wealthy individuals, get off Scot free?
Some folks have already paid a pretty hard price, deservedly so, but they were the small-fry scapegoats.
We need to move forward and demand accountability from those who actually were responsible for the policy of torture as high as that goes.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.