Give our “Jack Bauers” a Medal. Then, Jail ‘Em and Throw Away the Key
Necon Republicans and the unthinking supporters they terrify into voting for them keep trying to justify their demand for broad general power to be granted to Presidents (i.e. Republican ones) to torture anyone anytime for any reason. Their “justification” is invariably the often filmed (but never happened) TV-Land standard plot device relied upon time after time in the 24 series where hero Jack Bauer supposedly has only hours left to keep a nuclear bomb/deadly virus/poisoned reservoir from happening.
In the first place, we have not needed it to date even though there have been lots of Nazis and other equally nasty, devoted, persistent enemies. Even since 9/11, the so-called 1% possibility has not required routine torture. Second, the government as currently run is too incompetent anyway to ever find a genuine suspect in time who might have such information (unless everyone with a different skin color or religion is routinely tortured “just in case”). In the third place, the information obtained from torture is of doubtful reliability. Besides, haven’t we learned by now from our recent experience in Iraq, that when Bush and his buddies start acting as if movie plots are useful to predict what will happen with real people, we get in trouble? But, most importantly, even if the fictional scenario recited actually occurs and torture actually works for once, why must the Prez be handed such broad torture power so anathema to everything we used to believe? Here is an alternative.
Give the torturer a medal, maybe a Medal of Freedom. Salute him. Then, give him a ticker tape parade straight to jail where he should spend the rest of his life so that society need not worry about a sociopath torturer like him continuing to roam around loose in a civilized society. Maybe he proved himself useful for that one time, but after all, he has revealed his own pathology. He has shown he does not really believe in the Constitution. By torturing a fellow human being, he has proven there is nothing he won’t do if he feels thwarted on some other matter. Do we want him free to act on whim again?
So, let’s jail him along with his boss who let things get that far, that late. That way, the torturer can continue to think of himself as a hero. He can write books from his cell. And, we can all thank him for his courage in deciding to lose his own freedom to save others.
But, there is no need to grant what the Neocons want, especially when it might be used for other less trustworthy purposes, purely political ones such as perhaps torturing journalists to find out who leaked embarrassing information. In any event, for that one theoretical, rare or never event, there is certainly no need for America to suddenly become the world’s bulk delivery torturer.