The Torture Memos and International Accountability
If I injure someone but forgive myself in order to move on, that does not exempt me from the actual guilt or from the necessity of compensation and even discipline. If I harm someone but provide closure for myself in order to get on with life, that's called sociopathological... a condition where I am unaware of the ramification of my actions upon others, or if I am aware, I don't care. Individuals should be aware of the injury they inflict upon others and be willing to bear the consequences. This is why I support victim impact statements.
If my son seriously hurts someone and causes trauma not only to that person but to my family, it would be unethical for my family to forgive my son and forget the injury so that we can resume our happy life without regard for the injured. My son must understand the seriousness of the injury he inflicted on that person, even if it costs him and my family a great deal. I would want my son to be able to think outside of the confines of his own life. I would want my family to be able to think sympathetically outside the boundaries of the comfort and stability of our own home, and even empathize with the injured.
So there should be an inquiry into the "torture memos". Attorneys wrote memos giving legal advice that in essence gave permission for the CIA to use harsh interrogation methods when questioning suspected terrorists. This and the system that supported it need to be examined. If we are going to think in protectionist ways, then we are doomed to becoming a law unto ourselves. The bishops who covered up sex-offending priests soon learned that they were not allowed to manage the crisis in isolation but were required to think and act globally and bring the offenders to a public justice.
Senator McCain believes that the American people need closure and to move on. If another nation who committed atrocities upon another nation said that they were sorry but were moving on, there would be an international uproar! No other nation would be allowed to exempt themselves from the torture they inflicted on others so that they could close that chapter in their history without there first being some kind of reckoning in the international court. The day of thinking provincially about how we do things is over. We are called to be responsible citizens of this world, not just our own nations. I'm not a legal expert by no means, so I can't make declarations on what should happen to the attorneys. But at least it must begin with some kind of admission that their advice was used to endorse torture. And the threat that this would make it difficult for the government to acquire legal advice in the future is empty. Justice ought to be thorough, even to the roots of the laws insinuating that torture was permissible under any circumstance. We must agree that no nation is ethically free to do whatever it wants without global accountability.
It is the same with the Christianity or any religion for that matter. It can no longer think of itself as an enclave of a different moral order not liable to the universal community. The new hermeneutic of our history, traditions, books, documents and actions needs to be one of universal love and global justice. If we exact hate, discrimination, injustice, exploitation, or injury upon any other human being, then we have to be willing to be accountable when we are challenged by the international community. We are members one of another, and we must start behaving so.