America washes its dirty linen in public. When scandals such as this one hit, they do sully America's image in the world. But what usually also gets broadcast around the world is the vivid reality that the United States forces accountability and punishes wrongdoing, even at the highest levels.
This is exactly right. If instead of blaming the media for bringing attention to the issues or pretending torture didn't happen even as they were justifying and advocating torture there had been some accountability for the people involved the message sent to the world would've been very different. And, yes, I'm realistic and I know that true accountability - the resignations of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney - wasn't going to happen. But, imagine if Rumsfeld had resigned over this. Message sent: America good, torture bad.
But, instead we're treated to the spectacle of Big Time running around all the congressional offices begging his minions to let him keep putting the testicle clamps on. Nice.