The bile started rising at the very beginning, the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I read the opening paragraphs.
Then it got thicker and thicker until I almost wanted to throw up, and my nausea turned to rage at the unbelievable details.
Yes, most of us who follow politics expected Tuesday’s release of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush/Cheney years to be bad. We knew prisoners had been beaten and waterboarded at secret prisons (like the one above); we knew the Geneva Conventions had been violated and ignored.
But Jesus, it was so much worse than we thought. I almost don’t even know where to start, there are so many hideous excerpts from the 600-page report that were all over the Internet news sites Tuesday.
And remember, as you read some of this, this is just the heavily redacted, edited version that released; reading this, I can’t imagine how disgusting what we didn’t see is:
— All throughout the report are tales of innocent suspects tortured, waterboarded and put through unspeakable horrors. The report even has CIA agents admitting they knew that the torture wasn’t working, yet it kept going. Hell, in 2013 , the CIA admitted that it was simply incapable of evaluating the effectiveness of its covert activity.
But hey, let’s keep doing it. Screw the Geneva Convention.
— Once again, over and over throughout the report, this blaring fact is repeated: TORTURE DOES NOT WORK. It didn’t help get Osama bin Laden. It didn’t help against any other major target like Khalid Muhammad. It does not, in any way, lead to useful intelligence that stops terrorism. (A CIA interrogator said in the report that “torture led us away from bin Laden.”
There are those who will argue, like my father in a conversation with me Tuesday, that all U.S. and CIA actions are justified in the names of preventing future terrorism.
Except, torture does not work, ever. Which just makes America as bad as Iran, China or any other nation we look down our noses at.
— The CIA used “rectal feeding” on some prisoners, which is basically anal rape.
— The CIA tortured innocent relatives of potential suspects, just to try to get the relatives to talk. Also they tortured mentally retarded suspects as well. As my mother-in-law said, these agents made Carrie Matheson from “Homeland” look stable.
— The CIA constantly lied to both the Bush and Obama White Houses about what they were doing in the secret prisons and detention centers, and there was zero oversight, apparently.
— Barack Obama comes off pretty awfully in this report too, for his ultimate refusal to coperate with the investigation, and to hold anyone accountable for the torture. His B.S. about “let’s look forward, not backward,” while he knew America had lost all moral authority in the world because of what happened, and his refusal to go forward with prosecutions against war criminals, is a stain on his Presidency for all time.
I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. I highly urge you to check out Andrew Sullivan’s thorough breakdown of the report, as well as this fantastic New York Times story that breaks down, case by case, the numerous lies of the Bush-Cheney CIA era and how torture got us nowhere.
There should be prosecutions, there should be trials, and there should be prison time for Bush, Cheney and ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden. If there are not, I believe we have lost all moral authority with the world.
What an absolute disgrace.
**OK, time for a palatte cleanser: This is a terrific and interesting new idea; a restaurant in Toronto called “Signs” has opened, and all its waiters and waitresses are deaf. Customers order in sign language (instructions on signs are printed in on the menu) and it’s a whole different kind of restaurant experience.
**And finally, a new product that totally appeals to me, and creeps me out as a new father. A company called Blue Maestro has just invented a new app called Pacifi, which is a Bluetooth-enabled pacifier that sends your baby’s temperature directly to your Smartphone.
Pacifi works by using a built-in temperature sensor that is nestled in its silicon teat. The gathered temperature data is then transmitted to an app found in an iOS or Android device through Bluetooth. Afterwards, the app determines the time when a temperature data is most accurate, time-stamps it, and plots it in a graph.
Do I want this? No. Seems a little too “overbearing parent” to me. But hey, if your kid is sick, I guess it could be useful.
Now, when will they invent an app that makes your baby stop crying? Because I’ll pay a million bucks for that one.