Torture Is Trivial Compared to its other crimes, that is
by Robert Jensen,commondreams.org – The great American torture debate has been rekindled by the nationwide release of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the hot new movie about the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden.
But all the fussing over whether or not the movie condones, glorifies, and/or misrepresents torture is trivial, because the United States’ use of torture after 9/11 is trivial in the context of larger U.S. crimes.
Let me be clear: I don’t support torture. I think torture is immoral. I think government officials who ordered or condoned torture should be held accountable. Torture crosses a line that should not be crossed.
But when I look at the decade since 9/11, torture is hardly the greatest crime of the U.S. war machine. Since 9/11, the United States has helped destroy two countries with, at best, sketchy moral and legal justification. The invasion of Afghanistan was connected to the crimes of 9/11, at least at first, but quickly devolved into a nonsensical occupation. The invasion of Iraq, which was clearly illegal, was a scandal of unprecedented scale, even by the standards of past U.S. invasions and covert operations.
While the Iraq war is over (sort of) and the Afghanistan war is coming to an end (sort of) the United States is also at war in Pakistan and Iran. The U.S. routinely unleashes murderous drone strikes in Pakistani territory, and we can assume that covert operations against Iran, such as the cyber-attack with a powerful computer virus, continue even though Iran poses no serious threat to the United States. More…