Torture: Each Of Us Shares This Sin

We are Americans. We live in and vote in America. We elect our leaders. Thus we are responsible for what our leaders do.

We here may look upon ourselves as different.  

But each of the other 7 Billion human beings we share this planet with, looks at us as Americans.

As a country, as an entity. The Americans selected George Bush to lead them. A country is what its leaders do. And our leaders were George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. In the period after 9/11, to the rest of the world, they represented America. The rest of the world was ready to join with America after the attacks. To the rest of the world, they were…and still are…America.  What they did…America did.

Each and every American did. It is how we judge others, how we judge other countries….by what their leaders do.

And it is how we will be judged. How we are judged. By what George Bush, Dick Chenmey, and Donald Rumsfeld did. That is just how it works. Fair or not, it is true. America DOES torture.

We are Americans, and this is what we did.

The International Red Cross says so. The United Nations is investigating US.

We are torturers. We try to avoid that fact, here in our comfy little Exceptional American Bubble. But to the rest of the world, until there is justice visited upon the individuals who ordered torture…Americans are torturers. How does that feel?

The Americans under George Bush attacked and invaded Afghanistan. We rounded up thousands of people ourselves and we paid a bounty of five thousand dollars to have others turned in or rounded up. Some of them, around 900 of our fellow human beings, we put in cargo containers, sealed them in and left them in the heat to die. Others we killed, we beat them to death while ‘interrogating’ them. So that we could round up the ones they incriminated, while being tortured. We called them unlawful enemy combatants, because that was the lowest status we could give them. The lowest there is in all the world.

When we named them unlawful enemy combatants we took away all of their rights. When a man has no rights, none at all, is he even still a man? We can kill him then, torture or beat him to death, and no one will ever know. Maybe. Especially if we give him no record, if we hide him from the world. So that is what we did. Snatched them off the streets or from their homes, away from their wives and children. We took them. We killed some, we tortured others. Even those we knew to be innocent. But then time passed and we needed to do something more permanent, once our bloodlust had boiled down a bit.

Then we very cleverly, we thought, invented a new kind of prison for the ones who survived being tortured. It wasn’t in the United States, so these faceless, nameless, captured men, many of whom we knew to be innocent, could not be granted rights, had no access to the courts, no access to any law at first. ANY law.  

Brandon Neely, a prison guard at Guantanamo tells the story of what we did then. Read it. We tortured them. We beat and shackled and froze and shocked and anally raped them with night sticks.

But Cheney and Rumsfeld were not satisfied, they wanted, they said….more …information. So they put Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Millerin charge of developing a torture program, an ‘interrogation’ program. To get more information from these men, even when WE knew some of them to be innocent.

People, Americans, we, sat in rooms and decided how best to torture people. What methods of torture to use, how much pain to inflict.

Other of us, attorneys like John Yoo, sat in rooms and made up lies as to why it was ok for US to torture people….in ways that we had hung others for after WW2….when we had always condemned others for torturing. When we had accused whole nations of being torturers. Just as we are condemned as torturers ourselves, now.

In the White House, The Principals met to decide….we met to decide how to torture people. One of us The Attorney General of America John Ashcroft said “We should not be talking about this in the White House, history will not judge us kindly.” Yet they did, we did. When we had the Torture Program we wanted, though not the Army that we wanted, we exported it in the person of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller. Exported it to Abu Ghraib.

Where as it turned out, it was not a few bad apples who were blowing off steam like frat boys. But instead part of OUR organized torture program. One of us blew the whistle and sent in the now famous pictures. We have been allowed to see the mildest of the pictures of what we did in Abu Ghraib. But until just a few days ago, the really really bad ones had been concealed from us. Now they are to be released. We are about to see what WE really did at Abu Ghraib.

And it was not just Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. WE had a whole network of Black Sites. Secret Torture Prisons. OUR CIA had what amounted to a private Torture Airline to fly those who had been renditioned to be tortured all around the world, to conceal what we were doing.

We waterboarded people, we slapped them and punched them and beat them to death, We sexually harassed and tortured deeply religious men. We cut off their beards, we flushed their holy books down the toilet, we wired electrodes to their genitals and shocked them. We sliced their penises with razor blades.

We did this, Americans did this, to the rest of the world…. YOU did this.

Rape. Torture. Murder. It is what Americans do.

Unless YOU now make sure that WE investigate charge and try the people who authorized, ordered and carried out these acts… as YOUR government, in YOUR name, with YOUR money, by YOUR soldiers and intelligence agencies….YOU did this.

Because you are an American, and Americans did this.

And unless we do something about it, that IS the historical record. America did this. Not Bush or Cheney, America.

Right up to the day that we charge the individuals who did this…as individuals.

Right up to the day we try the President and Vice-President who did this….NOT as Americans. Not as representatives of America. But as men. Men who have broken the law NOT in the name of every American. But in their own name.

Until these MEN are brought to justice and tried as War Criminals, these are not just their crimes as individuals who broke the law. These are ALL of OUR Crimes, as Americans.

The only way to clear YOUR name, to clear America’s name….is to charge, try, and convict George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld as men, as private individuals, who committed War Crimes NOT in our name, NOT with our consent, but in their own name, on their own abused authority..

Until the responsibility lies directly on the individuals who ordered these inhuman atrocities, then as the People in whose name this was done. Until WE find THEM guilty, we are guilty. As Americans in an America that does torture…

Until Justice is done. Or at least attempted, those who are not attempting it, US….

….Each Of Us Shares This Sin.

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  1. Photobucket

  2. Yet they did, we did. When we had the Torture Program we wanted, though not the Army that we wanted, we exported it in the person of COLONEL.

    Colonel who?

  3. really well.

    Cognitive dissonance? :

    Definition: People tend to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions. So what happens when one of our beliefs conflicts with another previously held belief? The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs for behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.

    one more edit note, where you say:

    And unless we do something about it, that IS the historical record. America did this. Not Bush or Cheney, America.

    Well, yes, of course, it was Bush / Cheney, but not in my name, or not alone…. or something. I just had a little brain-tossle in that moment. “not ONLY Bush/Cheney”… I dunno.

    Really excellent piece, buhdy. How do you…? Im gonna light a special candle for you. This takes a special strength, what you are doing here.

    • robodd on March 25, 2009 at 19:56

    I’ve got a sticker I wear on my forward that expressly and explicitly states, in legal 8 point print, as follows:

    Underlying Citizen is not, and shall not be, responsible for the acts of the knuckle dragging 24%, their hirelings or representatives.  Participation in America shall not constitute a waiver of such nonresponsibility, express or implied.

  4. on torture all the time? This is kind of what is playing in the back of my head constantly, that I am responsible for torture.  

  5. Since we, the American people, in all likelihood elected Al Gore as President in 2000 I blame the Supreme Court. They are responsible.

    Of course I agree with the rest. The criminals should be tried. For war crimes. For looting the Treasury. And in a perfect world Scalia and Thomas would be tried too, although they’d probably be acquitted. How can you successfully prosecute “bad decisions”?

    We’re not the type to pick up guns and try to re-take our government, mostly because we’re smart enough to know it wouldn’t work. Our weapons are information and discussion. For those of us who spoke out during the Bush years there is no blame but yes, there is a responsibility to continue to push for justice.

    We know that the Leahy thing is going to end badly, if it even gets off the ground. We should probably push Keith and Rachel and anyone else who has a megaphone, to keep the issue on the front burner.

    • Edger on March 25, 2009 at 21:33


    Until people stand up and say NO MORE, put a stop to it, prosecute those who ordered it, and imprison them if convicted.

    Otherwise it will never end.

  6. listening to a caller to Ron Reagan Jr who said “the RULE of President Reagan” and Ron did NOT correct him!

    Presidents DON’T rule, a King Rules! Some people just don’t get it at all!

  7. Great way to make people realize how they are potentially to be viewed, if not already.

    One person who has weight in the push for prosecuting the self admitted war crime perpetrators & is outspoken about the absolute necessity to proceed legally or forfeit innocence is Jonathan Turley.

    I don`t know if you saw him on The Rachel Maddow show a few days ago but he is one angry American who knows what the truth, in not following up on the blatantly obvious war crimes, will do to the future of the country he so obviously loves.

    As you so cynically & humorously (I loved it but cringed a little for the person who obviously did not mean anything to be so harshly responded to) mentioned above, a bumper sticker will not absolve this country.

    Thank You for all your efforts to make people see in different ways, how they now may be perceived by those who once saw this country as a shining beacon or model to ascribe to.

    PS; Jonathan Turley is going to be a major voice in the collective call for legal action. His commentary should be advanced as much as possible.

    (I`m not that internet literate to provide links)

  8. 2 postings I read today – one by buhdy and one by opol – that were both utterly astounding. I mean, these two guys have posted so many well-written diaries (over the years) filled with so much cogent thought and analysis that one can’t help but sit up straight in the chair and pay attention when they put something up. But to read two, over-the-top, outstanding entries from them on the same day made me think they must both be channeling some subconscious psychic phenomenon which is sweeping across America.

    Buhdy’s article “Torture: Each Of Us Shares This Sin” offers not only the facts of the ACLU’s case regarding the (potential) release of hitherto buried (by the bush misadministration) obscene photos from Abu Ghraib, but also a perspective on the issue of torture that you will not hear from the TM.

    Opol’s account (WAR – the American Way of Life) of his leaving Laos at the age of 8 in 1960, amidst war and chaos, and his reflections on the “recent” history and nature (can I use the word “nature” in the context of war?) of Man’s involvement with war and war profiteering combines both the personal and the historical in a manner most powerful.

    Both of these postings should be required reading in High School history classes, now and into the future-not because they are in any way simplistic, but rather because they tell fundamental TRUTHS about American history. And I say “High School” because young, developing minds need to learn true American history, and not jingoistic distortions.

    And about those two graphs at the end of opol’s posting-can you imagine what would happen if these three commercials, nationally broadcast, aired over the course of a few weeks? One with the first graph (including an explanation of what it means) and another with the second graph (with explanation) and a third one with a clear, succinct, correlation of the first two commercials?

    Over and over and over, the American people could be saturated with the truth, just as they are now bombarded by corporations hawking their wares, and have been, for the past eight years, subjected to the daily routine of the self-inerested fear-mongering propaganda of the bush mis-administration.

    • BobbyK on March 27, 2009 at 07:49

    between the War Crimes and the Financial Crimes.

    For all of Obama’s talk about a new era of responsibility, he’s giving a pass to past catastrofucks.

    Justice for some instead of justice for all can not be maintained.  

  9. Where is Justice?

    In the American courts where those with the highest priced lawyers literally get out of jail in direct proportion to their ability to afford billable hours?

    It seems to me justice is for us “regular” people with the once in a decade exception like Martha Stewart. The rich and powerful have lawyers like Yoo that make claims such as

    military interrogators could subject suspected terrorists to harsh treatment so long as it didn’t cause “death, organ failure or permanent damage.

    Among those “little people” are the innocents swept up by those rich and powerful people in Afghanistan, labeled as “enemy combatants” (convenient, huh?) and held without legal counsel, without charges, without dignity, without a shred of evidence against them. This is george bush’s justice. Even the innocent, if they are unable to obtain the very best legal defense possible they are FUCKED.

    George Bush will get away with it? Will Dick Cheney? Will Scooter Libby? The entire criminal enterprise A.K.A. the Bush Administration will never set foot in a courtroom?


    The public outcry with threats to remove every Congress critter that fails to act on the overwhelming evidence against the bush crime wave is loud, is long, is persistent, and is deafening.

    Do we mean it?

    Can we do it?

    Big ending question… HOW??

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