With the Senate Intelligence Committee's release last week of the ghastly report on the CIA's torture of post-9/11 detainees, we became after-the-fact witnesses to what could go down as one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.
The graphic descriptions of people being water-boarded into unconsciousness, deprived of sleep for days at a time and subjected to almost unspeakable, perverse treatments were truly shocking and appalling. One prisoner (I hope he's the only one) died of hypothermia after being forced to sit or lie on a bare floor all night, without pants.
Our elected leaders' decision to sign off on "enhanced interrogations" in 2002 is one of the sorriest displays of political judgment ever.
Thank God - really, let's offer prayers of thanks - for the strength of character and moral conviction of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who pushed relentlessly for release of the report over the objections of many, including fellow Democrat and Secretary of State John Kerry.
And let's offer prayers of thanks, too, for Republican Sen. John McCain, whose courage and conviction helped get the damning document released. McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor: "I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn't about our enemies; it's about us. It's about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It's about how we represent ourselves to the world."
If he would have put a "Dear God" in front of them, those words could have made a great prayer...So here we go:
Dear God, help our current and future leaders to learn from last week's disclosures that we can never again go down the road of torture. Inspire our leaders to always remember the principles that America was built on, what we as a people stand for and who we aspire to be. Amen.
Jim Fitzpatrick is a former coordinator of the covenant groups at Saint Andrew. His wife, Patty, is a soprano in the choir. They have two children, daughter Brooks, 26, and son Charlie, 25.