How can it be that there is such widespread empathy in America for the old and the sick and such revulsion at the idea of restraining them (even for their own good), and yet when it comes to actually torturing people considered to be “terrorists” — even before these people have had a trial — or people who have been jailed, even for non-violent crimes, many of the same people are happy to see them water-boarded, hung by the wrists from the ceiling with only their toes on the ground, placed for hours in stress positions, slammed against the wall, deprived of sleep for days on end, or in the case of common prisoners, placed in solitary, sometimes for months at a stretch, and shackled like slaves when removed from their cells?
It’s the same kind of moral disconnect that has people weeping and becoming outraged over the abuse of animals — for example the case of the Arizona pound that killed a badly injured cat brought in by a homeless man for treatment when it got caught in barbed wire — but then shrugging it off when they hear that another man in Arizona, picked up on a drunk driving charge, was placed in solitary and then left there, without trial or even access to a lawyer, for a year, or when they hear that a number of the so-called “terrorists” held at Guantanamo, sometimes for years, were captured and stolen away from their families in Afghanistan when they were just boys as young as 14!`
One of those boys, Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was 15 when captured, has not only been held at Guantanamo for for over a decade now, but was tortured repeatedly as a child by his US military captors, and ultimately was forced, after a sham military “tribunal,” to choose between endless captivity at Guantanamo or an admission of “guilt” and an additional sentence of 8 years with one more served at Guantanamo and seven more in his native Canada (he chose the latter). His “crime”? He allegedly tossed a grenade at US troops who were entering a Taliban compound which they had already called in an airstrike on. As the US soldiers were checking out the bodies of the victims of that airstrike, and by some accounts, finishing off the wounded, boy-soldier Khadr, badly wounded himself, is alleged to have tossed a grenade that killed one US soldier. Note that had an American soldier done exactly the same thing under those circumstances he would almost certainly have won at least a Silver Star, and maybe a Medal of Honor, but because this boy was fighting with the Taliban, he was instead charged with murder.