I Accuse: Americans are too complacent with CIA

In “I Accuse,” inspired by the famous open letter by Emile Zola bearing the same name, Opinion Editor Justin Hawkins seeks to challenge established ideas, whether political in nature or related to JC. No one can hide from the truth.


Justin Hawkins, Opinion Editor

I find it disturbing that so many Americans don’t seem to care that the CIA used “enhanced interrogation” methods on terrorists on their behalf. I am even more disturbed that Americans don’t seem to care that the CIA then lied about it to our elected officials.

It is totally understandable that Americans don’t care what happens to terrorists. They are responsible for causing attacks on US soil and the loss of thousands of soldiers overseas. I, for one, don’t care all that much what happens to them, but we have to be careful about giving the government too much power.

Over the years of American history we can track the growth of the government. We have seen that the federal government is not afraid to spill American blood, suspend the Constitution, and disregard the Supreme Court when it feels threatened. This is what happened when states decided they could run themselves. The result was a government lash out against them, causing the Civil War.

In recent years the power of the federal government has been expanded mostly by using the War on Terror. The PATRIOT Act, which was passed in the name of national defense, greatly increased the federal government’s ability to spy on suspected terrorists, even if they were US citizens with limited oversight from the courts.

It may be that the PATRIOT Act was passed without malice and with the intention of keeping Americans safe. However, all it takes are a few corrupt men to take that power and abuse it. We recently learned much more about this when Edward Snowden released thousands of classified documents, many of which showed that the NSA was spying on US citizens. Terrorists held by the CIA experienced “enhanced interrogation” tactics. That’s the fancy name they use for torture. It just sounds so much better when you call it “enhanced interrogation.”

Conservatives seem to not care all that much, perhaps happy that the terrorists got back some of what they deserve. However, they should be outraged. The CIA overstepped its bounds. They lied to the legislative branch, who I’m sure are happy in their ignorance.

President George W. Bush was also involved in ordering the torturing. Of course since he has an R for Republican next to his name he is immune from Neocon attacks on him. This goes against traditional conservative values. This is the Executive Branch doing things without the oversight of the rest of the government or the people.

There is another reason that conservatives should be outraged. According to Barack Obama, conservative groups like the Tea Party are terrorists too. The Feds have not been afraid of targeting conservatives before. This is the administration that used the IRS to target conservative groups by not giving them tax exempt status. Allowing the government to get away with abuses of power should not be acceptable.

Understandably, liberals have been criticizing Bush for being involved in this new scandal. I do, however, question their motives. Firstly, liberals love blaming Bush for everything, ignoring the fact that many of Bush’s policies have continued under Obama. Second, it has been bad news after bad news for the liberals, scandal after scandal for the current administration, and here is finally something the liberals can use to counterattack. I wonder if they would care as much if Obama was doing the same thing.

Government’s torturing evil people is one thing, but all citizens should be outraged that it was done in their name without their consent. There is also a huge question about whether or not the information forced from the detainees is even useful and the possibility that some of the detainees are innocent. This is a matter of principle. We should never be tolerant of a government that tortures and then lies to the people it’s supposed to represent.

Justin Hawkins is an Opinion Editor for the Patriot and jcpatriot.com.