Tuesday, June 08, 2004 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA


What is the morality of torture? This seems to be a question concerning the Bush administration lately and is now a hot Washington topic of conversation. First, let’s look at the question as it affects America today.

Proposition 1: Due to the fact that the people we are fighting against are terrorists, their treatment in capture is not governed by the Geneva Convention or any other international treaty prohibiting torture. Nor is their treatment governed by any federal anti-torture law because our President has authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation’s security.

Proposition 2: If we resort to using torture against the terrorists we capture in Afghanistan and Iraq, they will do the same to our solders, which puts America’s sons and daughters at greater risk.

No one knows what’s really going on at Guantanamo. Remember, we are dealing with an administration that prides itself in keeping the American public in the dark concerning its inner workings. Here’s what we know to date:

The CIA issued a memo in February, 2002, asking for an explicit understanding that the administration’s public pledge to abide by the spirit of the Geneva Convention did not apply to its operatives as far as prisoners of the War on Terror were concerned.

In December, 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved a set of harsher interrogation techniques to use on Saudi detainee Mohammed al-Kahtani, who was believed to be the planned 20th hijacker in the September 11th terror plot. Rumsfeld suspended the harsher techniques on January 12th 2004 due to a review of the legality of such tactics by Pentagon lawyers and interrogators at Guantanamo.

A March 2003 memo has now surfaced stating that the administration’s top lawyers approved of the Justice Department’s position that the Geneva Convention does not apply to the war in Afghanistan. The memo goes on to say that the President, Executive Branch officials, and all military personal would be immune from domestic and international prohibitions against torture – for a variety of reasons.

Excuse me? Doesn’t this make us exactly like the enemy we face? What kind of example are we setting for the rest of the world?

If the United States claims to be exempt from International law concerning torture, why can’t any other government do the same? Wouldn’t this make Gestapo and Inquisition tactics legal worldwide?

I have to wonder about the morality of a President and an administration that would even CONSIDER torturing other human beings for ANY reason. It’s bad enough that they’ve reduced the rights of American citizens through the Patriot Act. It’s bad enough that they imprison people for years without trial or due process. But torture? Please. Surely this steps across the line by any stretch of the imagination.

©2004 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre

# posted by Marcia Ellen @ 3:18 PM
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