Last night, Chris and I went to the Galaxy match, a 2-1 win (a somewhat undeserved win) to the good guys. Before the match, I stood and sang the "Star-Spangled Banner. I did it as I always do, unironically, with my hand over my heart. I do it to honor my country.
But last night I did it with very mixed feelings. Once again, late last week and through today, more reports have emerged that U.S. forces have been torturing and beating people. Torturing people regularly, systematically, and with the full endorsement of the Administration. As these reports indicate, this torture is not the result of a few soldiers and agents going over the line but rather a the result of policy and of a systematic attempt to blur or erase the lines which limit the kind of force American troops and agents are allowed to use.
A good place to start is this link loaded post from Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings. The latest news brought this response by Michael Froomkin, who has been all over the torture issue. (This is an admittedly short list of links, but it's enough, in fact, it's way too much).
And yes, to borrow one of the President's favorite ways of expressing himself, I realize that the people our forces are fighting cut off people's heads. I understand that they set off bombs that kill civilians. But is that it? That's our moral justification for torturing people? As long as we don't decapitate people, it's OK to beat and sexually humiliate and shock them?
We're currently led by people who claim to put principle above political and immediate concerns. And Americans are supposed to be the good guys. That's why I can sing the national anthem unironically. But being the good guys must mean more than just being slightly less bad than the bad guys, and it seems we've lost sight of that.
Where's the outrage? America is defined by a set of values and not merely a border drawn around a piece of land. Our values are determined by laws and respect for those laws and never merely by power and and momentary expediency. Right? Right?
Where is the outrage?