Several years ago, before the 2004 U.S. election, I wrote about Guantanamo Bay, still for me the key symbol of the failure of American foreign and legal policy after the 9/11 attacks, although I have been encouraged that the country's courts and media have at least done some chipping away at the edges of its black hole.
A big issue this year has been allegations of government-endorsed torture by U.S. government personnel at Guantanamo and elsewhere. I think P.Z. Myers's take on the subject today is cogent:
When the U.S. government announces [its] support for torture, they aren't talking about intelligence gathering: they are simply saying "Fear us." They are taking the first step on the road to tyranny.
The real problem is that fear isn't a good tool to use in a democratic society. [...] Anyone who supports torture is a traitor to the democratic form of government...
This upcoming year will give Americans a chance, once again, to decide what kind of country they want to become, and whether that will be a different one, with Guantanamo and torture as a sad past to remember, not a poisonous legacy for the future.
Iraq, well, that's more complicated, isn't it?
Labels: americas, government, terrorism, war