by Jacob G. Hornberger
American military statists, along with U.S. officials, are glorifying the U.S. government’s opposition to the dictators in Libya, Syria, and Egypt. They’re saying that such opposition shows that the U.S. government is concerned about the people suffering under those dictatorships and just wants to help them out by bringing them freedom and democracy.
But there is something dreadfully wrong with that picture. The statists and U.S. officials are forgetting that there is a dark side to this tale. That dark side involves the U.S. government’s torture partnerships with those very same dictators.
In the interests of truth, morality, and transparency, the American people are owed a full and complete explanation of these torture partnerships — their background, their terms, their longevity, and their consequences.
We begin with the discomforting fact that the U.S. government partnered with Egypt’s dictator Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad — the very same dictators that the U.S. government later turned against. The purpose of those torture partnerships was to have the dictatorships torture people whom the U.S. government was kidnapping in other countries and labeling as “terrorists.”
Why did the U.S. government select those particular dictatorships to torture the people it was kidnapping? We don’t know for sure because U.S. officials aren’t talking, but the most likely reason is that when U.S. officials were going down the list of possible regimes to torture people on their behalf, they finally settled on the best ones — that is, the ones who were most brutal in torturing people. After all, if one wants someone tortured, why select regimes that might be squeamish about torturing people? It stands to reason that the U.S. government would want the best torturers in the world to torture suspected terrorists on its behalf.
But those are the types of questions that need to be answered by U.S. officials, along with lots of others.
Which U.S. officials made the initial contacts with Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Assad? When was contact initially established? Who negotiated the terms of the torture partnerships on behalf of both regimes? What were the final terms of the torture partnerships? Were they put into writing and, if so, why can’t the American people see the contents of the contract? Were the partnerships indefinite in nature or did they expire after a certain point in time? Are any of the torture partnerships still in existence? Are there other torture partnerships with other dictatorships around the world and, if so, what are their background, terms, and conditions?
How many people were tortured pursuant to these torture partnerships? Who were they? What exactly was done to them as part of the torture regimen? Did any of them die? Were any of them permanently injured by the torture? Where are those who were tortured today?
Until Americans get the full details on the U.S. government’s torture partnerships, the U.S. government’s belated opposition to Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Assad has all the appearance of a sham — a façade, one in which the U.S. government is presenting a false and fake outward appearance to the world.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, how can one reconcile the U.S. government’s torture partnerships with those brutal dictatorships with a purported concern about the people who were suffering under those dictatorships? Let’s face it: The reason that those dictators were so good at torturing people was because they had been perfecting their torture skills against their own citizens for decades — the same citizens that U.S. officials now say they’re trying to help.
It’s up to Congress — the elected representatives of the American people in the legislative branch of government — to conduct a full and complete investigation into the executive branch’s torture partnerships with the dictators in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and everywhere else. Until we have the full details and explanation of those torture partnerships (and any others), the U.S. government’s belated opposition to such dictators must be presumed to be opportunistic, fake, and cynical.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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