One of the real tragedies of the past decade is the decision by our government to use torture in its attempts to achieve security. I have written about this before and likely will again. Below is a press release from the National Religious Coalition Against Torture. It commends the Department of Justice for investigating the torture deaths of two detainees, but expresses disappointment that further investigations into allegations of torture have ended. It is unfortunate that many Americans have come to believe that torture is permissible if it protects lives. The problem is that there is little evidence that this is true and what it does is undermine the ethical foundations of the nation. Just because other nations do it, doesn't mean we have to do it!
So with permission of the NRCAT I share this press release and invite your discussion:
DOJ DOES THE RIGHT THING IN INVESTIGATING TWO DEATHS,
BUT MUCH IS LEFT UNDONE
“The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is pleased that the Department of Justice has agreed to investigate the torture deaths of two detainees. However, our country has a long way to go before we come to terms with the dark, dark deeds that some U.S. officials committed on detainees in the aftermath of 9-11. We know CIA interrogators subjected detainees to waterboarding, extremes of heat and cold, sleep deprivation, long-term isolation, sensory deprivation and stress positions, among other abuses. To all appearances, the CIA then chose to conceal the evidence of these crimes by destroying the videotapes documenting them.
“For the past three years, Assistant Attorney General Johnhas investigated these crimes. Yesterday, Attorney General Holder announced a full criminal investigation into the deaths of two – but only two – of the dozens of detainees who were subject to torture.
“Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who is also former CIA Director, was quoted as welcoming the news of the end to the broader inquiry, saying ‘We are now finally about to close this chapter of our agency’s history.’ Mr. Panetta should be far from glad that the broader investigation is over; a great country does not – must not – sweep its mistakes under the rug. We have a moral obligation to fully investigate our government’s past use of torture.
“The U.S. government should establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate U.S.-sponsored torture and to recommend safeguards to end U.S.-sponsored torture forever. Only by fully understanding the mistakes that were made can we ensure that we do not make them again.”