Apathetic population leads to abusive government

By Sheila Moussavi 2007

If you had been searching the Des Moines Register (very) diligently last week you might have come across news brief summarizing a report by the American Civil Liberties Union stating that of the detainee death that had occurred in U.S. custody overseas, at least 21 were cases of homicide.

This brief, wedged between a Casey’s advertisement and an in-house ad for the Register’s obituaries, also stated that at least eight of these homicides were a direct result of abuse by our military or intelligence officers.

Shortly after, the Waterloo Courier printed a similar (but enlarged) article next to a related piece on vice-president Dick Cheney’s stance on torture. According to this article, Cheney proposed to exempt the CIA from the highly-popular anti-torture bill proposed by Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war who was tortured in Vietnam.

But allowing anyone to be exempt from these laws would suggest that there are conditions under which torture can be justified, which would in turn violate the principles of democracy that we are trying to instill in other countries and actually went to war for in Iraq. As the self-proclaimed leader of the free world, we should not accept torture under any conditions.

And now, to make the situation just a little more terrifying, the Washington Post recently reported that the CIA has been running secret, unsupervised prisons around the world. Remembering that Abu Gharib was supervised, try to imagine what might happen with the CIA running unsupervised prisons, exempt from anti-torture laws.

So my main question is, why isn’t everybody talking about this? While there may be an occasional news brief in the Des Moines Register or editorial in the Courier, it seems as if the general population is completely apathetic about the whole situation, a point which is hard to believe considering the fact that we have soldiers of our own overseas and should therefore be doing our best to support anti-torture laws, rather than allowing them to be broken.

As logic stand, in order to prevent our government from decriminalizing torture, we must (at the very least) take the initiative to care. An abusive government is inevitable when the population is apathetic.

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