from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Conservative Op-ed writer against torture 

(this is cross-posted from dailykos)

Jeff Jacoby is the resident conservative among the op-ed writers at the Boston Globe (which includes such notable liberals as Ellen Goodman, Tom Oliphant and the superbe Derrick Jackson).  Today he offered the first of what will be at least two, and perhaps more, op ed pieces reviewing our handling of detainees, and making it clear he opposes what has been done.

The article is entitled  Where's the Outrage on Torture and is well worth the read.

To abide by copyright I have enclosed a couple of snippets to whet your appetite.  And btw, the teaser at the end of todays piece was

NEXT: Why not torture terrorists?

from partway through, after the introductory material:
The latest Pentagon report on the abuse of captives, delivered to Congress last week by Vice Admiral Albert Church III, doesn't point a finger of blame at Miller or any other high-ranking official. It concludes that while detainees in Iraq, Guantanamo, and elsewhere were brutalized by military or CIA interrogators, there was no formal policy authorizing such abuse. (On occasion it was even condemned -- in December 2002, for example, some Navy officials denounced the Guantanamo techniques as ''unlawful and unworthy of the military services.")

But surely, Church was asked at a congressional hearing, someone should be held accountable for the scores of abuses that even the government admits to? ''Not in my charter," the admiral replied.

So the buck stops nowhere. And fresh revelations of horror keep seeping out.

Two examples, which in the original online piece provide hyperlinks
Afghanistan, 2002: A detainee in the ''Salt Pit" -- a secret, CIA-funded prison north of Kabul -- is stripped naked, dragged across a concrete floor, then chained in a cell and left overnight. By morning, he has frozen to death. According to The Washington Post, which sourced the story to four US government officials, the dead man was buried in an unmarked grave, and his family was never notified. What had the Afghan done to merit such lethal handling? ''He was probably associated with people who were associated with Al Qaeda," a US official told the Post.

Iraq, 2003: Manadel al-Jamadi, arrested after a terrorist bombing in Baghdad, is brought in handcuffs to a shower room in Abu Ghraib. Shackles are connected from his cuffs to a barred window, hoisting his arms painfully behind his back -- a position so unnatural, Sergeant Jeffrey Frost later tells investigators, that he is surprised the man's arms ''didn't pop out of their sockets." Frost and other guards are summoned when an interrogator complains that al-Jamadi isn't cooperating. They find him slumped forward, motionless. When they remove the chains and attempt to stand him on his feet, blood gushes from his mouth. His ribs are broken. He is dead.

and the concluding two paragraphs:
Of course the United States must hunt down terrorists and find out what they know. Better intelligence means more lives saved, more atrocities prevented, and a more likely victory in the war against radical Islamist fascism. Those are crucial ends, and they justify tough means. But they don't justify means that betray core American values. Interrogation techniques that flirt with torture -- to say nothing of those that end in death -- cross the moral line that separates us from the enemy we are trying to defeat.

The Bush administration and the military insist that any abuse of detainees is a violation of policy and that abusers are being punished. If so, why does it refuse to allow a genuinely independent commission to investigate without fear or favor? Why do Republican leaders on Capitol Hill refuse to launch a proper congressional investigation? And why do my fellow conservatives -- those who support the war for all the right reasons -- continue to keep silent about a scandal that should have them up in arms?

Go read the entire piece --  it is quite important.  And you should forward the link to everyone you know.

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