The government of the U.S., its State Department/Foreign Service personnel, and its military forces routinely capture people, torture them or have others do it for them, and then deny these people access to our courts, which is exactly what was done in the first place.
The obvious path to take is to go to an international court which will then condemn the individuals responsible for the unlawful detainment and torture (the detainment was unlawful b/c it resulted in torture which the subject could not avoid b/c he had no access to a court). Those individuals will then be subject to immediate arrest and trial and, if found guilty, imprisonment. The only way they can be tried is if they can be arrested and that can happen only if they leave U.S. soil b/c our government will protect them, no matter what they did, in the interest of national security (they might tell things the government doesn’t want told in order to defend themselves).
Suing the U.S. government in civil court to at least get damages would be a possibility, I suppose, but no doubt our government would pull the same cover story out. The level of proof is not so high in civil cases, so perhaps a few witnesses could be found who could corroborate their stories to the extent that they could win awards. I am not sure what you give someone who has lost five to ten years of his life, endured disgusting, repulsive acts at the hands of moral cretins, and no doubt suffered bodily and mental damage making life hard to live.
We could hope that the interrogators and those responsible for putting these people in these situations, innocent or guilty, could be put through a stress situation which would leave them permanently depressed, impotent, and unable to sleep. Imagining a high-level U.S. official restrained in a facility where his brain would be permanently altered so as to simulate what happened to the people unfortunate enough to find themselves under his control is a tough task. Picture Condaleeza Rice in a straight jacket being injected with drugs which would alter her mind for the rest of her life. Yuck.
Now imagine yourself a young kid solicited to run messages for your uncle, the Terrorist. Suddenly you are subjected to the sorts of terror the subjects of rendition describe. How do you shake that? We willingly ascribe to abuse victims similar life-long debilitation; will we be able and willing to see such crushing, rending, shattering effects on victims of the U.S.? Or do we believe Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill just would not, could not do that? Remember the postcards of lynch mobs, nice Americans standing around the charred corpse of their victim, grinning and pointing? Was that someone’s great-grandfather, grandfather? Why couldn’t we do such things to a bunch of terrorists? We can and we have, with impunity.
There are therapeutic centers for victims of torture, some here in the U.S. Of course, they are for the victims of other regimes, not ours. We don’t do that sort of thing. If we paid for their treatment, that might be an admission of guilt transferrable to a court of law. Lawyers would be very quick to say, “No, you can’t do that. Nothing that gives the impression of an admission of guilt.” Well, how do we get these people help? “That’s not our area of expertise. You’ll have to find some bleeding-heart liberal social worker for that.”
In a way, all this makes our job easier. We no longer have any morals to live up to. We can do pretty much anything we want. The next country we invade, we can round up a bunch of their fifteen year old girls and force them into brothels for our troops. Why not? We’ve abandoned our standards. Isn’t that what Morocco would do?
I think the shining city on a hill just slid down the mountainside.