Obama’s new man, Leon Panetta, calls time on US torture
Panetta’s core qualification at this particular moment was his public statements on the Bush-Cheney torture programme. This is what Panetta wrote in the Washington Monthly last year: “How did we transform from champions of human dignity and individual rights into a nation of armchair torturers? One word: fear. Fear is blinding, hateful and vengeful. It makes the end justify the means. And why not? If torture can stop the next terrorist attack, the next suicide bomber, then what’s wrong with a little waterboarding or electric shock? The simple answer is the rule of law. Our constitution defines the rules that guide our nation. . .
“Those who support torture may believe that we can abuse captives in certain select circumstances and still be true to our values. But that is a false compromise. We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don’t. There is no middle ground.”