Monday, June 8, 2009

The Ugly Truth about Torture

The Bush administration tortured people.The talk about a "few bad apples" was a lie.
A spineless congress allowed these crimes
to happen. The saddest part of this tragedy
is that too many Americans are not aware of
the extent and depravity of these crimes.

And a vocal minority of Americans see nothing
wrong with engaging in illegal acts of torture,
even when these involve rapes of children and
outright murder. At some point voices of reason,
temperance, and sanity... must rise together and speak.

Torture is immoral, illegal, and ineffective.
It is time to restore the rule of law and sanction, fine,
punish, or imprison those who broke the law. Proactive
moral compunction inspired by courage and fueled by
integrity, will triumph over a surrender to fear and the
embrace of "situational ethics." We must reject cowardice,
surrender, and ignorance... in favor of courage,
faith, and intelligence. Ethics reflect our values. Either we
have values... or not. We must demand accountability from
our leaders or replace them. Bush lied and Obama parses
and parcels out half-truths.

It is time to take a stand and do the right thing. tmf

General Taguba’s report revealed that the overwhelming majority of detainees at Abu Ghraib had no connection to terrorism. Suspected terrorists were being funneled to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan or Guantanamo.

“These were people who weretaken off the streets and put in jail — teen-agers and old men and women,” he
told the New Yorker shortly after retiring in 2007. “I kept on asking these questions of the officers I interviewed: ‘You knew what was going on. Why didn’t you do something to stop it?’”The answer to that question was that the low-ranking soldiers were taking orders from Washington to engage in torture.

“These M.P. troops were not that creative,” Taguba said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation intohigher authority. I was limited to a box.” Taguba
says that the U.S. Commander in Iraq General “Sanchez knew exactly what was going on,” but because Taguba was limited to investigating enlisted men and junior officers, he wasn’t allowed to conduct a thorough investigation.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has a different explanation for what happened at Abu Ghraib: all the blame should be left at the feet of American soldiers. In essence, the vice president who hadtaken
five deferments to the draft during Vietnam in order to avoid military service wants to blame the troops: “At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency,” Cheney told the American Enterprise Institute last month. “For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America's cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.”

Americans have a choice of believing either a two-star general and the soldiers in the field who say they were directed to torture by higher ups, or Dick Cheney and the politicians in Washington. Of the politicians in Washington, Taguba
says they were well-informed of the torture taking place at Abu Ghraib:

 “[Former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There’s no way he’s suffering from C.R.S. — Can’t Remember S***. He’s trying to acquit himself, and a lot of people are lying to protect themselves.” Ditto for Cheney, apparently.
We can escape from this swamp of lies. tmfCOUNTER TERROR WITH JUSTICE

In the name of the "war on terror," the U.S. government
has subjected people who have not been charged with or
convicted of any crime to:

Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
or punishment

• Abductions (known as
extraordinary rendition),
disappearances," and secret detention

• Illegal, indefinite detention in
Guantanamo, Bagram,
U.S. facilities, & secret CIA sites  

• Denial of legal rights, including
fair trials and habeas corpus--
the right to challenge the legality of one's detentionAdditionally,
the U.S. government has employed
companies that have been implicated in cases of killings, torture, and rape, and has failed
to adequately
investigate and prosecute abuses.

These practices are wrong.
They are
illegal under U.S. and international law.
They violate American principles of justice.
Military and intelligence experts have said these practices are
The United States government must end these human rights violations immediately
hold accountable all those who authorized and implemented them. Detainees must
be charged and given fair trials, or be released to countries where they will not be at risk
of human rights abuse. The U.S. government must respect and protect human rights,
and counter terror with justice.

It’s up to people like us—people around the world who
want justice, security, and human rights—to make sure it happens.

Join Amnesty International USA’s
Counter Terror With Justice Campaign Team
More about torture:

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