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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We Need to Demand Justice Over Proof Bush Authorized Torture

Good Morning Papamoka Bloggers - I would like to discuss torture. You know, the thing we've always been against, even to the point of promoting and signing international treaties to prevent it. The kind of thing that George Washington refused to do because he said that it would harm the "morality of the nation." You know, TORTURE!

To this day it still shocks me how some of my more rough-and-tumble Republican friends think I'm crazy to worry about it. They say it's no big deal. They don't have any problem with the idea that George Bush is breaking domestic and international laws. They say he's doing it to protect the country.

Really? I'm horrified by the idea that we've been torturing our prisoners for years now. We've broken our laws, and even more important, we've trashed our "word" and honor as a nation by ignoring our international agreements. We need to feel worse about it. We should be more ashamed of our leaders. They should have been on trial by now, or at least impeached. Thank you so much Nancy Pelosi - what a tool. We need to get more angry.

So, little by little over time, the proof has been leaking out, and a big piece of it just hit the fan this morning. The Washington Post is reporting today that the Bush administration "issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency's use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects." Intelligence officials supposedly required the documents for "CYA" purposes, just in case the details of the program became public."

"The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency's interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing."

"The memos were the first -- and, for years, the only -- tangible expressions of the administration's consent for the CIA's use of harsh measures to extract information from captured al-Qaeda leaders, the sources said. As early as the spring of 2002, several White House officials, including then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Cheney, were given individual briefings by Tenet and his deputies, the officials said. Rice, in a statement to congressional investigators last month, confirmed the briefings and acknowledged that the CIA director had pressed the White House for "policy approval.""
To read the whole story, click here.

So, there we have it. The White House authorized torture. Of course, McCain, who originally opposed torture, now says that waterboarding isn't necessarily torture. I see, so what is it? Enhanced interrogation is just another way of describing torture. Prisoners should never be subjected to painful and inhumane treatment. We must always find other ways to get information. The "24" style mentality of treating the enemy as though they're not human is repulsive to me.

There are so many arguments against torture I don't have time to describe them here, but overall we're better off without it. I'm angry, and I hope you are too. We need to vote for Obama in 20 days to make sure this never happens again. Once he's elected, we can start cleaning up the mess made by Bush and his cruel henchmen. Not in my name! Never again!

Michael Boh
Papamoka's West Coast Contributor
from Our Rants and Raves Blog
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Blogger bullet said...

So, there we have it. The White House authorized torture.

Not really.

Is it torture to stick a man in an environment in which he will be raped by other men for years and years? I would say it is, but we do that every day.

The problem is that torture has to be defined and any definition is open to interpretation and negotiation. Oxford defines torture as "the infliction of severe pain as a punishment or a forcible means of persuasion" and then severe as "very great; intense". That's not very specific. Without any existing laws or treaties to provide boundaries, those in power get to define torture as they see fit.

Unless you know of a law or treaty that outlines exactly what is and is not torture, I don't think you can definitively say that a crime has been committed.

I, too, am against torture. It is only useful as punishment and Americans are supposed to be above that. We're not, but we're supposed to be.

3:18 PM  

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