Certainly, one aspect of my longing for a new administration has been my sense that we need to account for our use of torture (or “enhanced interrogation techniques”) in the Global War On Terror (GWOT). I blogged about my concerns about torture extensively, including its incompatability with Christian Ethics, its lack of utility as a tool for either protecting the homeland or prosecuting the GWOT, and the effects it has had on our relationship with other countries. More vital than our military might is the force of our ideas, and the hypocracy and moral injustice that our use of torture requires evicerates any standing we once had to be a “beacon of light for the world.” If that is something we think our nation ought to aspire toward, then the use of torture is simply incompatable (whatever else you want to say about the fact that Christian thought cannot theologically allow it, or the utter foolishness on relying on torture-derived information in a practical sense).
And so I am well pleased to read Josh Orton this morning, summarizing a portion of Obama’s interview on 60 Mintues last night pertaining to torture. Orton draws from this Think Progress report, which cites this relevant portion of the interview:
CBS: There are a number of different things you can do early on pertaining to executive orders.
CBS: One of them is to shut down Guantanamo Bay. Another is to change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops. Are those things that you plan to take early action on?
OBAMA: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture, and I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.
(emphasis in original at Think Progress)
And the video is also available on you tube:
Whatever your thoughts are on the election of Barack Obama to be our next president, I hope you can see this as a major advance, should Obama follow through with this, in America’s standing around the world. And even if it didn’t lead to that, it would be the right thing to do. Reconciliation can come, but it must follow a formal end to a policy that led us down that dark tunnel in the first place.