I’m taking my cues from Scott Horton of Harper’s Magazine by promoting an effort to get the candidates to commit to an absolute anti-torture policy.

Call the presidential candidates now.

INSIST: “No Torture. No Exceptions.”

John McCain:
(202) 224-2235

Barack Obama:
(202) 224-2854

Hillary Clinton:
(202) 224-4451

“No Torture. No Exceptions” means:

  • Reaffirming America’s commitment to existing federal laws and international treaties that ban torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under all circumstances.
  • Renouncing all legal interpretations and executive orders that redefine torture and permit such acts as sensory or sleep deprivation, stress positions, sexual humiliation, mock executions.
  • Enforcing full transparency of information about how America treats any and all detainees held by our personnel and those in our employ anywhere in the world.
  • Rejecting and abolishing the practice of rendering detainees abroad.
  • Establishing a single standard of interrogation procedures to apply to all persons held in U.S. custody or by those under U.S. control, whether C.I.A., military, or civilian.
  • Treating our detainees as we would have others treat detained Americans.

What Would Lincoln Do? “Military necessity does not admit of cruelty, nor of torture.” General Orders No. 100, art. 16, Apr. 24, 1863.

Yet, look at the so-called Party of Lincoln now.

Waterboarding in the USA

Plenty of arguments are bandied about taking a stance against torture. John McCain once said we shouldn’t do it because it doesn’t work and it opens the door to American soldiers being tortured. Another writer says Americans committing torture “drive(s) those undecideds into the arms of the enemy.”

The reason we should not torture is because it is morally wrong. The act renders us hypocrites. Committing torture is an aberration. Torture is a crime against the innocent and the alleged guilty. How many detainees have been found legally guilty before they were tortured? It flies in the face of a justice system that holds up the notion of “innocent until proven guilty.” Torture victimizes whoever suffers it. To a much lesser extent it victimizes the individuals performing it institutionally as a duty. An institution that manages and euphemizes torture should be held accountable for crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. President Bush’s effort at semantically getting around the notion of torture with phrases like enhanced interrogation would be farcical if the ramifications of the act weren’t so horrific. Torture is wrong and doing it negates whatever claim we make about our values (life, liberty, law, and the pursuit of happiness, justice, etc).

I reject an argument against torture that pleads: torturing should not be done because it empowers an enemy. I reject McCain’s old argument that we shouldn’t do it because the enemy will do it to us. (McCain now qualifies the use of torture: He believes it shouldn’t happen to Americans, but the CIA can use it on non-citizens.)

Torture should not be done because it is an abomination. Torturing betrays the notion of virtue in Western philosophy, Eastern thought, and in every relevant religious tradition. Furthermore, torture is illegal in the United States as our government has ratified the Geneva Conventions as law of our land.

As for the debate where a Republican presidential candidate said, “we should have more Guantanamos,” the rush to embrace torture was a candid shot of the unraveling of the Grand Old Party. You can’t relish human suffering and expect to retain respectable footing in the human condition…even in America.

Amrit Singh at the Huffingpost writes about an Egyptian Christian, Sameh Khouzam who fled religious persecution in Egypt only to discover that the United States government is going to deport him — even after a U.S. federal appeals court found that “it is more likely than not that he will be tortured.” The government claims it is relying on “diplomatic assurances” from Egyptian officials that Sameh will not be tortured.

The Convention Against Torture was ratified as U.S. law in 1994. It prohibits the U.S. government from transferring a person “to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

We as Americans have allowed ourselves to be compromised as we commit to the Torture doctrine through indifference, ignorance, and blind acceptance that now, suddenly, torture is useful in the war on terror. Bush has made the so-called War on Terror a war of terror.

I have railed against torture on my own websites and others since I first suspected power had run amok.  That’s when I saw John Walker Lindh looking like Jesus strapped to a cross during his detention in Afghanistan.  I’ve written news stories to draw attention to this abomination against the human spirit. I will not stop my condemnation of torture until my country regains its senses and sensibility, until torture is viewed properly as criminal. I’ve decided to devote a page to my outrage on this website and will update it as I’m so moved.

  • Click on www.rejecttorture.org to join the national initiative to Reject Torture, and pass it on to your friends and acquaintances
  • Call each and every presidential candidate now. Insist: “No Torture. No Exceptions.”

John McCain: Phone: (202) 224-2235 Fax: (202) 228-2862
Barack Obama: Phone: (202) 224-2854 Fax: (202) 228-4260
Hillary Clinton: Phone: (202) 224-4451 Fax: (202) 228-0282

27 thoughts on “Torture Still Sucks

  1. Pingback: Bush Administration: Profoundly Immoral « Pine Belt Progressive

  2. Forget the arguement regarding tourture…..its just a coverup for the real issues….The sadness of mankind and its inability to solve differences that would allow all of us to co-exisit.

  3. Mavin, respectfully, I won’t cease arguing against torture. There are laws in place which are not being obeyed by the Bush Administration. Bush denies he ever authorized torture while the CIA says it waterboarded three times, and last week, Congress took testimony that revealed different types of water torture took place in that differed from waterboarding. As one of we the people, it’s my duty to demand that laws be followed. As a human being, I can take the step to insist those who govern do so without savagery. Best to you, Melissa

  4. Melissa,
    Thanks for you statement. I am the first to tell you that your words and your vision of what is right …..is right….but sad to say that the world does not work that way. This is always going to be the issue with government and we the people. Yes we vote and yes we run our government….but what is published and what is told and how its told is not how it works. As you may or may not know….the world of intelligence and battle occurs underground….in a world that only a few are allowed access and where very few people make decisions on who does what. I am not saying that is right or wrong (I do think its the only way but thats another conversation we can have later) I am just saying thats how it is……if you remember “A Few Good Men” “you want me on that wall….you need me on that wall….” point being…you ask me to go to war….then I have to do what I have to do to ensure your safety….so I go back to the issue…forget about how we fight the battle….once we are committed we must do what we have to do ……its a fine line between interrogation and torture….who is to decide? Civilians in San Francisco or Marines on the ground fighting the battle? Thank you for your response for at the end of the day….all of today (memorial day) allows us to have this conversation without fear or limits….that is the true beauty of the lives that have given the ultimate so I can sit here in a cafe….on the internet….speaking freely and being proud to be an American and a veteran. Best to you Melissa

  5. Stop torture inside the USA.
    Stop torture of US citizens using covert Ritual Abuse Trauma (R.A.T.) gassing, entering via carpentry entires, progressively mutilating hair/teeth/face to disfigure and violating the target while unconscious from the gassing.

    Forget the waterboarding of foreigners-
    stop the MKUltra Monarch torture, mutilation, violation of US citizens at home.

  6. oh those poor naked bastards in Iraq. Too bad we embarrased them. we should have let them loose so they could go out and CUT OFF THE HEADS OF INNOCENT AMERICANS. HOPEFULLY YOURS YOU ASSHOLE

  7. Not much of an American, are ya, Bob. Well, fuck you. I hope my country chooses the high road with a new presidency and leaves you cretin dumbasses behind.

  8. Worse than torturing enemy combatants is the murdering of almost 50MILLION innocent unborn children in this country alone in the last 30+ years. Talk about hypocrisy, until liberals help to put an end to this massive holocaust, they have no moral high ground to stand on this or any other issue.

  9. God has been taking out unborn babies by miscarriages at a rate of 1 out of 3 per year for decades, and that’s with advanced medicine in industrialized nations. Furthermore, the Bible assigns a monetary fine to a person who actually causes a woman to miscarry.

    Like it or not, dick head, women have dominion over their own bodies in America. Why don’t you move to Afghanistan since you love the subjugation of women so much.

  10. I’m a little disappointed that the Obama administration seems want to overlook the Bush roll at giving the order to use torture. The United States signed a pact along with other Countries that we were against torture and would prosecute offenders; all the time what were we doing? – its like crossing your fingers as a kid, you can’t be held responsible for what you say, your fingers were crossed.

    Not doing anything about the Bush/Cheney roll in torture is a slap in the face to the Countries we signed the pact with. I’m not saying they need to go to Federal prison or jail; but at least reprimanded if found guilty.

    • David, See what you think of this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBf3Zt8KrHg

      Rachel Maddow thoroughly updates people on the GOP blocking an Obama nominee to Justice (perhaps because she is so vehemently committed to righting the system and purging it of pro-torture yahoos.

      Spain looks like they’ll do the work we won’t.

  11. I’ hoping the Spanish prosecuter has the balls to go after Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Pelosy, and anyone else that approved the use of torture. Obama sure as hell isn’t going to I figure he made a deal with Bush, and don’t forget there are a lot of Democrats who also approved of the torture, I’m sure he is looking out for all his buddies in Congress and the senate. Land of Laws, yeah for the little guys, what a joke.

    • Alas…it appears the Spanish prosecutor is testicle-free. Last word was they will not pursue war crimes because they didn’t witness them.

  12. You are pathetic. I would pull the fingrnails out of anyone to save the life of my child, let alone stop a nuke in a city. If you would not, you are a liar or are weak.

    • And what if antiDave was the suspect and it was his baby’s testicles getting crushed in your doomsday, bullshit scenario?

      (Haven’t read Yoo, have ya Sparky?)

      Either A) Come back when you graduate high school and have some informal logic under your belt.

      B) Take your PTSD medicine and step away from the child


      C) STFU

    • Thanks for the link. I try to pick battles where I think I can make a dent, Ric. A page entitled “Torture Still Sucks” isn’t meant to draw the intelligentsia or academics. As a matter of Ethics with a capital “E,” torture must be regarded as abhorrent. (Immanuel Kant, says I can will it to be so with his Categorical Imperative. 🙂 though Nietzsche says, Kant can’t. I can’t believe Nietzsche on this.) As a matter of law…well, law must necessarily follow the Ethic.

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