Sunday, December 28, 2014

Torture of War-time Detainees: Could It Happen Again

Principle Torture Advocates Who Approved It Without Any Doubt
(Yes, at the very highest level)

A very timely and thought-provoking article on the topic of: “How the Torture Could Start Again” from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU (linked here).

Following a short review of the Senate's "Church Committee," the article goes on to offer what I think is the key part and states it this way:

In the case of torture, the Bush-Cheney White House was clearly involved. It pushed for and approved the program; it was complicit in obtaining the deeply flawed legal opinions that redefined the ban on torture to meaningless nothings.

White House officials forgot that both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln barred torture in perilous times when Americans were hard pressed in their fight to create the nation or to save it. They also forgot that after World War II the United States led the way in drafting the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit torture and other forms of inhumane treatment.

They locked out voices of experience from the State Department and the military who would have warned of harm to America’s reputation and risks to American captives. They failed to listen to FBI experts on interrogation who could have explained we were getting important intelligence through interrogation techniques other than torture. And they forgot, or nobody told them, that after World War II we had prosecuted Japanese officials as war criminals for using on American soldiers the same torture techniques the White House authorized and the CIA implemented after 9/11.

The danger of addressing only part of the problem is this. In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln called for a “new birth of freedom” so that “government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from this earth.”

But if government is to be by the people, necessary information cannot be hidden from the people. The Church Committee disclosed many embarrassing or illegal government actions that had previously been secret, believing that “the story is sad, but this country has the strength to hear the story and to learn from it.”  

Continue at the main source – worth the read. Thanks for stopping by.  

I close with this for those who say that this issue, as well as many other key issues, don’t matter. Perhaps not; until they do.

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