Last August Reason magazine editor Matt Welch commented in an editorial in the New York Times about the teachings of the late Senator John McCain on the subject of torture.  He said that McCain taught us that torture “produces faulty intelligence, that ‘every man has a breaking point,’ (and) that military personnel derive a motivational pride from America having higher moral standards than its debased adversaries.  ‘Your last resistance, the one that sticks, the one that makes the victim superior to the torturer, is the belief that were the positions reversed you wouldn’t treat them as they have treated you.’”  But we must continue to learn from McCain, because interest in this important issue appears to have waned.  And it should not because, as Mc Cain says, “This is a moral debate.  It is about who we are.”

     The prison at Guantanamo is still open, much to our discredit!  And, although President Obama banned torture as soon as he took office, our present president has stated publicly that torture “absolutely works.”  Furthermore, our government even under Obama has continued secretly to send terrorist suspects off to third-party countries to be “questioned.”  So do we care?  Have we learned from Senator McCain that unaccountable power behaves unaccountably?  Yes, we know that after Osama bin Laden was located and killed, many officials in our government widely spouted that this never would have happened without using “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”  But was this true?  Ask McCain, who subsequently wrote: “In truth, most of the C.I.A.’s claims that abusive interrogations of detainees had produced vital leads to help locate  Bin Laden were exaggerated, misleading, and in some case, complete bullshit.”  But even if it worked, the very soul of the United States of America is its Freedoms and its Liberties.  Do we not believe that our soul is under direct attack if we do not treat everyone in our custody humanly?  Of course, we should also define what we mean by the word torture because there is a significant difference between breaking bones and subjecting people to sleep deprivation and loud music.  But in the end, it is not about other people, other countries or even the Geneva Convention, it’s about who we are!  

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President