Over and over again, in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, in secret CIA black sites and at CIA headquarters, in the Pentagon, and in Washington, men and women recognized the torture for what it was and refused to remain silent. They objected, protested, and fought to prevent, and then to end, these illegal and immoral interrogations. While the president and his top advisers approved and encouraged the torture of prisoners, there was dissent in every agency, at every level.
The documents are full of these voices. In fact, it is thanks to these dissenters that much of the documentary record exists. From emails among FBI agents sharing their shock over scenes they had witnessed in interrogation booths in Guantánamo, to letters and memoranda for the record, to major internal investigations, the documents show that those who ordered and carried out the torture did so despite constant warnings and objections that their actions were ineffective, short-sighted, and wrong. It is no wonder that so many of these documents were suppressed.
There's this tendency, especially among our stupider punditry, to act like "everybody" just lost they damn minds in the wake of 9/11 and went all torture-happy because "we" were all so pissed off from having been attacked like nobody had ever attacked us before with the new world we were living in and all that transformative socio-bullshittery and nonsense. Thus, if "we" are all responsible, then none of us is responsible, and nobody needs to be held to account, and nothing needs to be said. Let it all be forgotten so we can go on our merry way.
Obama's record on this stuff, by the way? Appalling. Especially so, and all the more so, for a fucking scholar of the law. Forget punishing the people who did this. It would be nice if he, himself, stopped doing this, first off.