Truthout: Our Use Of Torture Made It Acceptable For Others To Use It

According to Truthout:

When we, the supposed leaders of the free world, don’t punish the worst political criminals in our history, it sets a terrible example for the rest of the world.

And when we fail to come to grips with our own country’s crimes, we don’t have any business calling out other countries for their crimes.

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To see how badly our not prosecuting the Bush war criminals is affecting the rest of the world, all we need to do is take a peak across our southern border at what’s going on in Mexico right now.

According to a new report from Amnesty International, the use of torture by Mexican authorities has grown by over 600 percent over the past decade as the War on Drugs has spiraled out of control.

This is a humanitarian disaster, and under normal circumstances the U.S. government could use its clout as the world’s leading democracy to pressure the Mexican government into changing its ways. But thanks to the Bush administration, we have no moral authority left.

We can talk all we want about human rights and respecting the rule of law, but when people like Dick Cheney are allowed to get away with running an illegal and unconstitutional torture program, everything we say rings hollow.

Sure, the Obama administration ordered the CIA to stop torturing people five years ago, but until Dick Cheney and everyone else who actually authorized and ran that torture program are sent to jail, or at least publicly repudiated, countries around the world will continue to imitate our bad behavior and use us to justify it.

Like it or not, as the most powerful country in the world, the United States sets the gold standard for global behavior. So when we do terrible things and nobody is held accountable, that gives the green light for everyone else to do the same.

But being the most powerful country in the world is also opportunity, an opportunity to show other countries how things should be done.

That’s why it’s time we put Dick Cheney and the other senior officials in the Bush administration who promoted torture on trial for their crimes.

This isn’t about politics, it’s about common sense.

If we ever want to be a moral authority in the world again, we have to lock Bush, Cheney, and everyone else in their criminal crew in jail and throw away the key.

It’s a vicious cycle:  some countries see that the U.S. tortured people, so now it becomes “fair game” for them, too.

ISIS certainly does it.  Mexico does it.  It is exceedingly difficult for America to claim the moral high-ground after the previous torture campaign.

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