It’s About Us

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: I agree with John McCain. Further evidence that I’ve somehow ended up in Bizarro World, I guess. Anyhow, here’s a particularly eloquent passage from Senator McCain’s statement on the torture report:

But in the end, torture’s failure to serve its intended purpose isn’t the main reason to oppose its use. I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.


We have made our way in this often dangerous and cruel world, not by just strictly pursuing our geopolitical interests, but by exemplifying our political values, and influencing other nations to embrace them. When we fight to defend our security we fight also for an idea, not for a tribe or a twisted interpretation of an ancient religion or for a king, but for an idea that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights. How much safer the world would be if all nations believed the same. How much more dangerous it can become when we forget it ourselves even momentarily.


Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.

Emphasis mine. The whole statement is worth reading — it’s not that long — but this is the important bit. And it’s essentially what I’ve been saying ever since the first nauseating photos from Abu Ghraib began circulating. It doesn’t matter if torture is effective, which seems to be the defense supporters of this loathsome program keep falling back to. And it doesn’t matter if the other side does barbaric things to its prisoners. We shouldn’t act like barbarians ourselves. Because Americans are supposed to be better than that.