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Saturday, February 16, 2008

More on torture

I don't often post on political matters, even though many people think that's what blogging is all about. However, I'm afraid that the time has come for me to say something about torture again.

In recent weeks, official spokespersons for the Bush administration have: admitted that the US has used waterboarding on prisoners; stated that, if waterboarding were applied to the official personally, he would consider it torture; bragged about the use of waterboarding. This after years of claims that the US doesn't torture people, and that what we do to prisoners is within the law.

The Bush administration has, by using means of interrogation of questionable effectiveness, destroyed its own credibility, disregarded international treaties, exposed our own troops to an enhanced threat of torture, and, likely, crippled attempts to condemn real terrorists in court, because some of the evidence against them has been obtained illegally. How can we expect North Korea, Iran, or the Sudan to abide by treaties if we don't?

See here for some background on Christianity and torture. The Wikipedia article on waterboarding is here. (The article is in dispute, which shouldn't surprise anyone.) This is the Wikipedia article on torture. Here, here, and here are White House press briefings which document, with considerable reluctance, the allegations in my second paragraph. Here is a speech by the Vice President, which also does. Here is a much more negative view, from Slate. The administration claims that waterboarding is not torture, and that it has never violated the law in this area. I consider such statements to be on the level of former President Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman" -- they are made in an attempt to deceive. We have tortured, and, in doing so, we have violated our own laws, defied treaties that we have been signatory to, lost any moral high ground that we had, and, perhaps, not even gotten accurate information from those tortured.

I don't expect much, if anything, to happen because of this post. I don't expect all of my small group of readers to agree with me. But I do believe that it is necessary for me to speak my own mind. Thanks for reading.

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