This I promise is not a political post. It is about the willingness of the masses to believe whatever the government tells them (with the full support of an abetting media). Ironically, for a nation that innately distrusts the government in all things domestic, it is a blind follower of the government abroad as supreme warrior leader beyond good and evil.
The most recent example is the new story in Harper’s Magazine by Scott Horton about the government’s cover-up of three detainee deaths — most likely from torture and made to look like suicide — at Guantanamo in June 2006. All three of the detainees had previously been cleared for release.
In reference to this article, Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic writes,
We have been told for so long that “enhanced interrogation techniques” are just “aggressive questioning”; that the ancient waterboarding technique is not torture; that Guantanamo Bay is a model prison facility where detainees are, if anything, molly-coddled (in fact, Rudy Giuliani recently opined that “Guantanamo is better than half the Federal prisons.”) We are also told routinely on Fox News that the United States has not and never would torture prisoners; we are told by the New York Times and NPR that use of the word “torture” is too biased; we have been told by many that to argue that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are war criminals is such an extreme position it disgraces anyone who states it, and marginalizes them to the fever swamps of leftist haters and hysterics.
These are all lies. They are pre-meditated lies. They are attempts to lie about some of the worst crimes committed by a president and vice-president of the United States in history. Anyone with their eyes open and their mind not closed knows this somewhere deep inside. And the only reason we do not know more about this is because of the criminal cover-up under the Bush administration and the enraging refusal of the Obama administration to do the right thing and open all of it to sunlight.
In the past, the Bush-Cheney administration could cover up their total control of the torture program and their direct authorization of the techniques used at Abu Ghraib by several distancing moves: “we are shocked that this happened”; it was the work of a “few bad apples”; the techniques we use are “relatively benign”; waterboarding is only torture if the Communists do it, and so on.
Glenn Greenwald explains the problem as such
The single biggest lie in War on Terror revisionist history is that our torture was confined only to a handful of “high-value” prisoners. New credible reports of torture continuously emerge. That’s because America implemented and maintained a systematic torture regime spread throughout our worldwide, due-process-free detention system. There have been at least 100 deaths of detainees in American custody who died during or as the result of interrogation. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said: “We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A.” Gen. Antonio Taguba said after investigating the Abu Ghraib abuses and finding they were part and parcel of official policy sanctioned at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, and not the acts of a few “rogue” agents: “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”
Despite all of this, our media persists in sustaining the lie that the torture controversy is about three cases of waterboarding and a few “high-value” detainees who were treated a bit harshly. That’s why Horton’s story received so little attention and was almost completely ignored by right-wing commentators: because it shatters the central myth that torture was used only in the most extreme cases — virtual Ticking Time Bomb scenarios — when there was simply no other choice. Leading American media outlets, as a matter of policy, won’t even use the word “torture.” This, despite the fact that the abuse was so brutal and inhumane that it led to the deaths of helpless captives — including run-of-the-mill detainees, almost certainly ones guilty of absolutely nothing — in numerous cases. These three detainee deaths — like so many other similar cases — illustrate how extreme is the myth that has taken root in order to obscure what was really done.
At the end of the day, it becomes hard to believe almost anything we are told about the War on Terror either by our government or the rubberstamping mainstream media.