“The fact that we are not really bothered any more by taking helpless detainees in our custody and (a) threatening to blow their brains out, torture them with drills, rape their mothers, and murder their children; (b) choking them until they pass out; (c) pouring water down their throats to drown them; (d) hanging them by their arms until their shoulders are dislocated; (e) blowing smoke in their face until they vomit; (f) putting them in diapers, dousing them with cold water, and leaving them on a concrete floor to induce hypothermia; and (g) beating them with the butt of a rifle -- all things that we have always condemned as "torture" and which our laws explicitly criminalize as felonies ("torture means. . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering . . .") -- reveals better than all the words in the world could how degraded, barbaric and depraved a society becomes when it lifts the taboo on torturing captives.” Glenn Greenwald, Salon
“…The question of torture - and the United States' embrace of inhumanity as a core American value under the presidency of George W. Bush - remains, in my view, the pre-eminent moral question in American politics. The descent of the United States - and of Americans in general - to lower standards of morality and justice than those demanded by Iranians of their regime is a sign of the polity's moral degeneracy.
This is what Bush and Cheney truly achieved in their tragic response to 9/11: two terribly failed, brutally expensive wars, the revival of sectarian warfare and genocide in the Middle East, the end of America's global moral authority, the empowerment of Iran's and North Korea's dictatorships, and the nightmares of Gitmo and Bagram still haunting the new administration.
But what they did to the culture - how they systematically dismantled core American values like the prohibition on torture and respect for the rule of law - is the worst and most enduring of the legacies.” Andrew Sullivan