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In 528 pages of grisly detail released just last week, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s long-awaited “Torture Report” details how the C.I.A. handled ‘criminals’ captured in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Water boarding, rectal feeding, psychological trauma, and worst of all, detention of innocent people. We must ask ourselves: generally our justice system purports to see suspected criminals as innocent until proven guilty; is it acceptable to reverse this standard on an issue of national defense? Additionally, the US regularly criticizes regimes of other countries for being inhumane; at what point can we expect to be taken seriously as a nation if we commit the same crimes that we criticize others for? Lastly, when, if ever, is it OK to abandon our (stated) values of respecting human life? If we wouldn’t want American prisoners of war treated in these ways, why do we think it’s OK to do it to others? If we’re unwilling to recognize and play by international rules, why would anyone else?
As Americans celebrated Halloween last week with traditional trick-or-treating, crowds of people in Burkina Faso took to the streets as well. But rather than parades of costumes and candy, theirs was a historic, political uprising.