That's no excuse, but may be an explanation for how a modern democratic nation can end up torturing prisoners. As a nation, we haven't been well educated about human rights, or history, or international law, or law in general. Let's just plead collective ignorance, mass delusion, and post-traumatic stress and throw ourselves on the collective mercy of the world court of public opinion.
By the way, as a New Yorker who lived through both World Trade Center attacks at close range, I can't believe that the American people are too scared to consider imprisoning the Gitmo terrorists in their home states. Let some of these allegedly brave people who loved to boast about putting a boot up Osama's butt step up to the plate now. Let the Gitmo prisoners be tried and imprisoned here in New York. We are not scared of this pathetic bunch of broken down religious nuts.
I stopped by to see John McCain this afternoon in his Senate office. I haven't seen him for several months, and was glad to see that he seemed rested and ready, if not tan. He was in high spirits, and we talked for a while about the Obama Administration's embrace of realpolitik, Pakistan, Iran, the whole nine yards. But first I asked him about Dick Cheney and his defense of Bush Administration torture policies. He told me of his fundamental disagreement with Cheney: "When you have a majority of Americans, seventy-something percent, saying we shouldn't torture, then I'm not sure it helps for the Vice President to go out and continue to espouse that position," he said. "But look, he's free to talk. He's a former Vice President of the United States. I just don't see where it helps."
And then he got acerbic: Cheney, he says, "believes that waterboarding doesn't fall under the Geneva Conventions and that it's not a form of torture. But you know, it goes back to the Spanish Inquisition."