Friday, May 15, 2009
Torture(gate) Another Watergate?
In the early Fall of 1972 I was enroute to my Navy duty station at the National Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, MD. My cousin, who lived in DC at the time, kindly offered to pick me up at National Airport and bring me to Bethesda. He asked me "What do you thing about the Watergate scandal"? I answered...."huh"? In any event, the break-in at the Watergate complex became a history changing event. Many, many people were convicted of obstructing justice, illegal campaign activites, contempt of Congress and lying under oath. It wasn't until almost two years later that Dick Nixon was forced to resign by a Congress under Republican control.
The current debates over torture are now giving me the same feelings that were prevalent in the Fall of 1972. What was the purpose of torture? Was it to get information to support the invasion of Iraq? Were any laws broken in authorizing torture? Laws almost certainly were broken or the argument that it "wasn't torture" wouldn't be so prevalent. Who is lying and who is telling the truth? Did Democratic leaders know about the torture? Clinton was impeached for lying. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached for lying. Did G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney do anything less than Clinton or Nixon? We don't know because no one seems to want to find out.
I think things are coming to a head. I think there will be some sort of investigation and eventually someone is going to spill some startling information just as Alexander Butterfield reluctantly admitted that everything said in the Nixon Oval office was recorded (John Dean had already admitted that he believed there was a taping system in the Oval office).
Personally, I believe waterboarding is torture and is illegal. If this turns out to be the case, then the law was broken and those responsible need to be prosecuted.