Cost of the War in Iraq
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10/26/05

Torturing Prisoners

From the NYTimesThis week, Vice President Dick Cheney proposed a novel solution for the moral and legal problems raised by the use of American soldiers to abuse prisoners and the practice of turning captives over to governments willing to act as proxies in doing the torturing. Mr. Cheney wants to make it legal for the Central Intelligence Agency to do this wet work.

Mr. Cheney's proposal was made in secret to Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who won the votes of 89 other senators this month to require the civilized treatment of prisoners at camps run by America's military and intelligence agencies. Mr. McCain's legislation, an amendment to the Defense Department budget bill, would ban the "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners. In other words, it would impose age-old standards of democracy and decency on the new prisons.

President Bush's threat to veto the entire military budget over this issue was bizarre enough by itself, considering that the amendment has the support of more than two dozen former military leaders, including Colin Powell. They know that torture doesn't produce reliable intelligence and endangers Americans' lives.

But Mr. Cheney's proposal was even more ludicrous. It would give the president the power to allow government agencies outside the Defense Department (the administration has in mind the C.I.A.) to mistreat and torture prisoners as long as that behavior was part of "counterterrorism operations conducted abroad" and they were not American citizens. That would neatly legalize the illegal prisons the C.I.A. is said to be operating around the world and obviate the need for the torture outsourcing known as extraordinary rendition. It also raises disturbing questions about Iraq, which the Bush administration has falsely labeled a counterterrorism operation.

Mr. McCain was right to reject this absurd proposal. The House should reject it as well. end times article

10 Reasons the US should not torture prisoners; as if you should need them listed;

1. Military Leaders know torture does not produce reliable information.
2. Torture is not something the leaders of the free world should represent
3. When power is given to government agencies, it is almost always abused.
4. Human rights should be an important issue to any democratic government.
5. We have claimed moral superiority when sanctioning other countries for human rights violations such as torture.
6. We put our own soldiers and citizens in danger by advocating torture of prisoners, giving other countries to cite the use of torture by the US government as an example of how to treat Americans who are imprisoned or arrested in other countries, including troops who are captured.
7. Just because other countries use torture is not a good reason for us to do so.
8. It's against International Law.
9. It's against American Law.
10. It's just wrong period. If you have any sense of right and wrong, then you know this is true.

"What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer." --Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)--

"Torture is banned but in two-thirds of the world's countries it is still being committed in secret. Too many governments still allow wrongful imprisonment, murder or "disappearance" to be carried out by their officials with impunity." --Peter Benenson--

"I remember going to an exhibit of photographs documenting the Japanese invasion of Nanking and other regions and looking at these photos, the decapitations, the torture, the pornographic poses - they would rape women and then photograph them." --Iris Chang--

"The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers." --Carl G. Jung--

"Shamefully we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management." --Edward Kennedy--

"Saddam Hussein's Iraq was a totalitarian state. It was a country where people were murdered and tortured. So I'm looking at this through the eyes of the political prisoner in Baghdad, and from this point of view I'm very grateful to those who opened the gates of the prison and who stopped the killing and the torture." --Adam Michnik--

"Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction." --Barack Obama--

"I mean, we've had all these awful pictures from the prison in Iraq and these sort of memos floating around about justifying torture, all this kind of stuff. And it makes you want to take a shower, you know?" --Ron Reagan--

"We do, and there is a law in the United States - the Torture Convention - that prohibits the United States from deporting an individual to a country where there is a reasonable expectation that he will be subjected to torture - physical, mental or otherwise." --Jonathan Shapiro--

"To be sure, Article 31 of the Fourth Convention prohibits any "physical or moral coercion" of civilians "to obtain information from them," and there is a clear prohibition of torture, physical abuse, and denial of medical care, food, and shelter." --John Yoo--

"This is not to condone torture, which is still prohibited by the Torture Convention and federal criminal law." --John Yoo--

"The war against terrorism is a war against those who engage in torture." --Ed Markey--

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