This country went somewhat crazy after the horrors of 9/11. Increased airport security might seem at times a nuisance, but we put up with it because we know it has been put in place to prevent another plane hijacking or bombing. The things that are crazy are going to war with Iraq when Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or using torture on so-called “enemy combatants” or on anyone who was unlucky enough to be rightly or wrongly labeled a terrorist.
Torture, no matter what excuse can be given for its use, is always wrong. We grow up believing that the United States is a force for good in the world, or at the very least, is striving to do good. Unfortunately, when we grow up, we realize that our country isn’t always a force for good. The use of torture after 9/11 was and remains one of those times. Though President Barack Obama outlawed the future use of torture through executive order after taking office in 2009, I say that torture remains a blemish on our moral and legal character because its nature has yet to be revealed in full.
On April 16, 2013, the Constitution Project’s bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment released a 500-page report. Based on research over a two-year period, the task force concluded that the United States indisputably engaged in torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CID) of 9/11 detainees — in violation of U.S. and international law and for which there was no justification. The task force also concluded that the decision to use torture and CID came from our top political leaders, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.