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DAVID DALLAS: Who in the Hell are We?

David Dallas

David Dallas

This is not the Ole Miss Hotty Toddy cheer, but instead a more serious question requiring a lot more than Flim Flam and Bim Bam. Although that, along with plenty of other spin, will be shared as a result of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on the CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogation.”

Everyone should study the report for themselves. We should make it required reading for our junior high school students from now on. Gosh Almighty, who in the hell are we?

Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve done some bad and we’ve done some good. But this could be us at our absolute lowest. Anyone who calls themselves a patriot, a lover of freedom, or an enemy of big, bad government, should be crying for justice or at least some assurance the “enhanced interrogation” practices outlined in the report will never happen again.

Will there be justice? Doubtful. Who is there to prosecute? Our entire government? Because that is who was involved: Presidents, Legislators, Judges, Bureaucrats, Republicans, Democrats, Operatives, Private Contractors and the foreign goons our tax dollars paid and trained to torture suspected terrorist and those that may or may not be related to suspected terrorists.

We, the people, are the State. All of us. We allowed, knowingly or out of gleeful ignorance, and supported the torture and abuse people, too many of whom were innocent of any wrong doing against America.

Let that sink in for a moment. Our nation was hit by a malicious attack on 9-11 that killed thousands of innocent people. And in our hunt for the “bad guys,” we have tortured and abused innocent people.

For those that believe this is simply the “collateral damage” necessary when hunting down “the bad guys,” find the report and read it. It’s sadism on a State scale. And it should frighten all of us.

Mississippi’s revered former Senator John Stennis commented during a closed Senate investigation of the CIA back in the 1970’s, that if a nation is going to have such an agency… “sometimes you are going to have to hold your nose and take what’s coming.” Even he would find the Senate’s CIA report more than rancid.

No need to list any of the heinous “enhanced” practices here or the fact that there were victims with no connection to 9-11 or other terrorists activities against the U.S. The CIA has admitted to destroying files on “enhanced interrogation.” It admitted spying on Senate Staffers – American citizens.

These acts do not protect our country. Instead they erode the very principles upon which our country was founded. If we, the people, do not uphold the most fundamental principles of rule of law and habeas corpus even outside our borders, then “who in the hell are we?”

John Stennis also said he tried to live his life as if every detail might one day be written up on the front page of the New York Times. Our government must conduct its duties in the same fashion, no matter how difficult it may become to protect us from a growing list of enemies. This doesn’t mean we do not need an Intelligence Agency, a military or law enforcement. Of course, we do. And sometimes we will have to hold our nose, but the stench cannot become systematic.

Our nation does not need torture chambers in Eastern Europe and throughout the world full of evil and shameful secrets. Not if we really are to be the land of liberty. Not if we wish to promote the rule of law beyond our borders.

Former Vice President and architect of our War on Terror, Dick Cheney, says he would continue to support the use of torture and admitted he was not so much concerned about torturing innocent people in the process. Then he asked rhetorically how are we supposed to get information from terrorists?

Our nation’s great Machiavellian, Cheney is confident he knows the answer. He knows we are obsessed enough in this country with power and wealth and those who control it. He knows our nation no longer feels the collective responsibility to protect the poor and the weak. And as long as we get what we want, who really cares if we torture a few innocent people from some far away place?

So if one had to answer the question “Who in the hell are we?” The answer is a nation without mercy and full of malice. Sadly, this might be the most enduring legacy of 9-11.

» David Dallas is a political writer. He worked for former U.S. Sen. John Stennis and authored Barking Dawgs and A Gentleman from Mississippi.


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  1. Right. Total deterioration of what we baby boomers were taught. And we thought Viet Nam was bad–that offended our sense of virtue, but this just shows we have no virtue to offend.

  2. Surely others have noticed the same folks who were defending police misconduct a few weeks ago are now defending torture.

    Who the hell are we, indeed?

  3. Agreed!

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