Before the CIA torture report was released by Dianne Feinstein and the House Intelligence Committee, Republicans like Rep. Mike Rogers and Democrats like White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest warned that the report could pose a great risk, causing violence towards US facilities and individuals around the world.
It’s been a week, and we haven’t seen any riots or demonstrations to back up those claims. Why? Dean Obeidallah says there are two reasons (I think it’s more the second than the first):
First, people across the Middle East have seen their own governments employ horrible forms of torture for years. It’s one of the oppressive techniques utilized by their respective leaders to remain in power.
We all heard about Saddam Hussein’s use of torture, which included beating people with bats and even raping women in front of their husbands. Ironically, Saddam’s torture of prisoners was one of reasons the Bush administration gave for our need to remove him from power.
In Afghanistan, Amnesty International documented the torture of political prisoners dating back to 1979. Former Egyptian leader and U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, between 1993 and 2008, had his forces torture at least 460 people, which led to the death of 167 prisoners, per the Egyptian Organization of Human Rights.
And Israel has been long known for using harsh methods against Palestinian prisoners, such as beatings with weapons, as reported in detail by the Israeli human-rights group B’Tselem. In fact, the Senate report noted that the CIA had cited an Israeli supreme court decision—that allowed such tactics if the prisoner was considered a “ticking bomb”—as legal justification for their actions.
The second, and what I see as the bigger reason for a collective shrug from the Muslim world, was what we didn’t see in the report. There were no allegations that the jailers engaged in desecrating Islam.
The common denominator in the most violent protests against Western actions has been when Islam had been insulted. I’m talking Quran burnings, cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, etc. Not only does such conduct truly offend many Muslims; it gives some right-wing Muslim clerics and unfriendly government leaders the ammunition to gin up anti-Western sentiment to further their own agendas.