While the Defense Department has produced volumes of public reports and testimony about its detention practices and rules after the abuse scandals at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantanamo Bay, the CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites. To do so, say officials familiar with the program, could open the U.S. government to legal challenges, particularly in foreign courts, and increase the risk of political condemnation at home and abroad.
...as though the core problem is one of being found out and not of our behaving like Huns.
What is the purpose of keeping a prison secret except to escape critical scrutiny? They are places where we can revert to barbarism without having to answer to anyone. (Oh, wait; our president assures us that they're humane and legal. I feel better now.) But when has it become acceptable for the operation of our government at its most audacious to take place entirely out of the public eye? Our own government-- a government supposedly of, by and for US--is keeping very controversial and substantial secrets primarily from US, and from other democratic nations whose belief in our essential goodness and unflappable ethics we rely upon. It is naive to think that every datum in the governing of a large nation in a dangerous world should be open for everyone to see. But that is too narrow a tree--much, much too narrow--to hide this elephant behind. I submit there is a huge and fundamental difference between keeping surveillance of terrorism suspects in this country, and the information gained thereby, for government's eyes only, versus the running of secret torture prisons explicitly off our soil to circumvent the suspects' protections under our laws. This is not a difference of degree; it is difference in kind.
I would be more willing to listen to the arguments about the necessity of this secrecy if it were not spread all through the administration to an almost unprecedented degree--if those uncovering the secrecy were not routinely called unpatriotic or even threatened with criminal prosecution--indeed, if someone had made an effective case that this particular war requires measures not previously thought necessary, an explanation of how the system of civil laws and governmental checks and balances upon which rests the world's greatest democracy is unequal to the task of dealing with this new threat. But we get no discussion, no explanation. Only testy admonishments from this halfwit that we're on the verge of destruction and only he can stop it. And even IF we grant that this war requires new measures, why can we not allow our elected representatives to craft those measures? Do we honestly believe that both the general public AND their elected representatives are simply not able to deal with these problems? If so, then, we have arrived at a dictatorship (or perhaps a DickCheneyship).
How do we convince people that our way is better when we must abandon it to make our point? How do we sway people that our intentions are good when we must resort to secrecy and barbarity to win our day? Perhaps this is now who we are--the conservative vision of society writ large: white, patriarchal, religious, rural, hawkish; how do I lodge my protest that I'm not one of them, that this is not my vision of my country, that I do not approve?