Monday, April 20, 2009

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

This is Latin, by the way, and it's a a very old epigram: "Who watches the watchers?" In simpler terms, it begs the question of who is watching over those we set to watch over us.

In regard to the CIA's torture policy, aided, abetted and endorsed by the legal lights of the Bush Administration, the epigram is heart-sickeningly appropriate.

We used "the water torture" on rebellious Filipinos after we took over that island nation after the Spanish-American War. We hanged Japanese soldiers and even general officers for waterboarding our soldiers in the Second World War.

While we may not prosecute the actual agents of this horrific policy (although I know that we have tortured and probably did torture throughout the so-called Total War Against Terror, I am still disturbed that we would so completely puke up our values), we can certainly pursue unto death those who helped justify the policy - Yoo, Addington and Bybee, as well as Gonzales and Cheney (who HAD to have had a hand in it).

And we must - although it makes the job harder - make sure that those we set to watch over us do not overstep their bounds.

It's the American thing to do.


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