It occurs to me, that maybe, it really doesn't matter what anybody says, not the prez and not the author, what matters is what anybody actually does.
So what does Barry Eisler actually do? He asks if the president has really done something or if he's just said something.
He started a conversation.
Its very simple for the president to ban torture, as long as he doesn't have to do anything about it. Its really easy to declare that he, personally, is against torture if he doesn't actually have to prove it, its real easy to declare one is on the side of good if one is never going to be held accountable.
The conversation Mr Eisler has started, of course is not simple, he's basically asking people if this is enough, if merely banning torture is enough to actually appease the conscience of a nation and atone for its admitted crimes
And if the answer is yes? What does that say about the USA?
Surely it says nothing about you personally, or anybody you know, its not like ordinary people really wield that much power or can be blamed for the malfeasance of its elected representatives. Or can they?
At this point anybody who might come around asking for justice will be told, it wasn't me, it was dub'ya, America is Obama now and he thinks what was done to you was wrong, you have no gripe with us. Or wait around, maybe the next bureaucrat (prez) we hire might be able to help you, Its none of my business.
I've exaggerated a bit, of course, but only to make a point: That asking for answers just means you don't have to provide any of your own.
I'm not trying to start a flame war with you, really, I mean no disrespect, I might come across that way if only because there's no nice way to say that being American also signals to the rest of the world that you are pro torture since you do, as a country, torture people, and that if the president bans torture without actually doing anything about it, its just a political maneuver. Its easy to see when you consider the net effect on the population who are targets for torture. (But this cannot be considered out loud form the inside of course).
This shouldn't be personally offensive if you understand that your identity as a person is separate from your identity as a nation. If there's rage directed at me for THIS, well, I don't really want to take a guess at its root cause because it could cloud the issue, but here it goes, it would seem like a sort of narcissistic injury to me.
But really, I'm just piggybacking on your comment to make my own observation as an outsider.