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The US Should Get Out of the Torture Business

Alberto Gonzales’ hearing on his confirmation as Attorney General, along with several new reports of the use of torture in Iraq, Guantanamo and Afghanistan, resurrect some of the most despicable episodes in recent US history. Gonzales couldn’t remember exactly what he did in the White House on the torture issue, but it’s pretty clear from news reports that he said a little torture is okay, especially if the people tortured are Arabs or Muslims.

I don’t buy it. I would not confirm Gonzales to be dog catcher. I don’t think we should be drawing fine lines of distinction between what kind of torture is okay and what crosses some hazy line of morality.

We should shut down Guantanamo, which in retrospect was created to avoid applying both US and international law protecting prisoners. The prisoners there should be released, returned to their home countries, returned to the country where they were captured, or brought to the US and given treatment in accordance with the Constitution.

We should improve the supervision of prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan and invite international observers to monitor conditions there continually, not just make periodic visits as the Red Cross does now. I want to be proud of America, not ashamed of her, as I am now.

While the conditions at these various prison facilities are clearly the result of decisions made at the very top of our government, those senior officials, such as Bush and Gonzales, have allowed the low level soldiers to take the rap for abuse. They claim to honor our servicemen, when in fact they are defaming them.

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