Over at the New Yorker, Jane Mayer has written what amounts to a must-read report on how the U.S. executive branch has come to condone cruelty and torture in its ongoing fight against terrorism. Alberto Mora, the recently-retired general counsel to the U.S. Navy, plays a large role in the article — he's one of the few senior Pentagon officials who saw the shift in policy not just as dangerous, but as a violation of the most basic ideals of our country.
As [Mora] sees it, the authorization of cruelty is equally pernicious. “To my mind, there's no moral or practical distinction,” he told me. “If cruelty is no longer declared unlawful, but instead is applied as a matter of policy, it alters the fundamental relationship of man to government. It destroys the whole notion of individual rights. The Constitution recognizes that man has an inherent right, not bestowed by the state or laws, to personal dignity, including the right to be free of cruelty. It applies to all human beings, not just in America - even those designated as 'unlawful enemy combatants.' If you make this exception, the whole Constitution crumbles. It's a transformative issue.”
No summary I could provide of the piece could do it the slightest bit of justice; it's a long read, but well worth the time (if not the rise in blood pressure). [Q Daily News]