Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Dec. 9, 2014 - Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne
Feinstein is besieged by reporters about the Committee's
summary  report on torture (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
       The first time I heard about the use of
torture by the CIA in their interrogation of prisoners I was appalled. Such procedures violate international law and are completely contrary to our American values.
        With the release of the 525-page summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s much longer report of more than 6000 pages, I am even more appalled, not just by the totally inhumane and brutal practices employed, but by the reaction of those who opposed the release of the report, whether for fear of evoking retaliatory strikes by terrorist groups or out of a misguided belief that the use of such practices was effective and hence justifiable.
        The report shows clearly that the use of torture was not effective.  But that is not the point! Whether it was effective or not, the use of torture is morally and legally wrong. We lost the high moral ground with our preemptive invasion of Iraq and the use of torture has added to our disgrace. What right have we to complain the violation of human rights by any other nation, when we ourselves our just as guilty? The end does not justify the means, and those who say otherwise are doing our nation a huge disservice.
       As for whether or not the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report should have been publicly released, it had to be! One thing that distinguishes America from her enemies is our willingness to confess our mistakes, to disown whatever illegal practices we engaged in, and to recommit ourselves to the high principles for which our nation has always stood, even when individuals and parties have sometimes strayed from them. Would that other nations would do the same.
        If our self-denunciation for the use of torture is an embarrassment to ourselves or our allies, and a provocation to our enemies, those who authorized and those who carried out those practices should have thought about that before they engaged in them.
        I hope former president George W. Bush and former vice president Dick Cheney will stop defending their actions and show some remorse for what occurred during their administration. President Obama has been reluctant to cast any blame of his predecessors, but he is to be commended for having put an end to those practices shortly after he had assumed office.
        The New York Times, the ACLU, and other organizations have called upon the President to pardon those who authorized and those who engaged in the use of torture. Such a move would  preclude any future prosecution of those individuals, while making it clear that the use of torture was and is against the law and hence a criminal offense.
        The fallout from the release of what has been dubbed “The Torture Report” is just beginning. It was just a summary of a much longer report. It will be interesting to see how the politicians line up on this issue and what reasons they give for disagreeing with or favoring its release.

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