Blowback for renaming streets in honor of a person's accomplishments when the broader truth is revealed
Recently I wrote ("Marion Barry: ceremonial vs. real name change of a street") about the calls for naming streets in DC after recently ecased former mayor Marion Barry, saying this is a difficult issue because communities have to be concerned about what such statements say about what they value--and Marion Barry's legacy is checkered.
All the various suggestions have led Mayor Gray to form a committee to consider ideas systematically ("Committee will vet potential Marion Barry memorials, Gray says," Washington Post).
In light of the recently released US Senate report on the post-9/11 CIA torture protocols, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorializes ("Street-sign honor for Gen. Hayden should be taken down") that the City of Pittsburgh should take down the street signs renaming a stretch of North Shore Drive in honor of General Michael Hayden, a Pittsburgh native.
This has been an issue for awhile according to the 2010 article, "Residents want North Side sign honoring general removed," which makes sense because the nature of US "enhanced interrogation" techniques used on "terrorists" is not a new revelation.
From the article:
When you next visit Heinz Field, you might notice the “Gen. Michael V. Hayden Blvd.” sign on North Shore Drive facing the Carnegie Science Center. To find out who he is, just turn to the Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation programs.They raise a good point, and ought to provide some cautioning to other communities about such reflexive renaming of public buildings, streets, and spaces.
The final appendix, 38 pages in all, details the inaccurate statements Gen. Hayden has made defending the programs in his capacity as the former director of the CIA. The CIA’s own internal communications show both the effectiveness of the “enhanced interrogations” and the intelligence they produced were greatly exaggerated. Some of Gen. Hayden’s assertions are directly contradicted by the record, suggesting he either intentionally lied to the public or was not fully briefed on the programs he supposedly oversaw, both completely unacceptable scenarios for someone in his position.