This article in the NY Times reports that 26 Americans, mostly CIA agents, are to stand trial in Italy for kidnapping a terrorism suspect in Milan in 2003, transporting him to Egypt, and torturing him. That the torture apparently happened prior to enacting the Torture Act (sorry, that’s just what I’m gonna call it, because that’s what it is) would see to me to invalidate any defensive claim that agents were just following orders. Even today, I think agents should probably refuse to follow that sort of order, but that’s just me.
So we’re finally being told, by a foreign power no less, that no, it’s not OK to kidnap and torture. We could learn that lesson from most 8-year-olds. Why do I have the sense that the message will be lost of most of the people in the U.S. — both citizenry and government officials? We seem to have this apocalyptic vision of ourselves as the underdog victims in a global conspiracy to destroy us and that the only way to combat bad men intent on bad deeds is to become bad men ourselves, or badder men as the case may be. That’s just dumb.