KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Are We Bored by Torture?

Why is there no more outrage these days about the torturing of Iraqis held prisoner by the U.S. military? Are we so inured to it because of past reports? Because we see violence on TV all the time? Because whatever a wartime president does is okay with us? Or have we lost our consciences?

Wake up out there!

The ACLU reported yesterday that "documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union show that an FBI investigation into the use of 'aggressive' interrogation techniques at Guantanamo was sharply scaled back, and that records related to the FBI’s investigation are still being withheld. 'Shameful as it is, the full story of our government’s sanctioned torture and abuse of detainees must see the light of day if we are to ever restore our reputation as a nation dedicated to the rule of law,' said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. These latest documents were released on the eve of the confirmation hearings of Attorney General–nominee Alberto Gonzales, author of the infamous memorandum that provided legal justifications for the use of torture and described the Geneva Conventions as 'quaint' and 'obsolete.' 'Mr. Gonzales bears much of the responsibility for creating the legal framework and permissive atmosphere that led to the torture and abuse at Guantanamo and elsewhere,' Romero said."

And, reports the New York Times, "an article in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine says that military medical personnel violated the Geneva Conventions by helping design coercive interrogation techniques based on detainee medical information. Some doctors told the journal that the military had instructed them not to discuss the deaths that occurred in detention."

Get the heck on your phone now and demand that your senators not confirm the appointment of Gonzalez, architect of torture, as attorney general! Don't know what the phone numbers are? Look here.

If we don't stop the torture of Iraqis, the torture of Americans just may be next.


clearblueskyforus@yahoo.com said...

I totally agree with you about the torture issue. I have collected a LOT of data and info on this issue over the last two months...and I've posted it on my blog at www.clearblueskyoutwest.blogspot.com

Check it out when you have a chance. The torture entries and clearly titled if you just scroll down through January 2005, December 2004, and November 2004.

I am as outraged as you and I am spreading the word at every opportunity.

I've been shocked at the strong support the religious community has given Bush in his war since the torture has been reported clearly in the press. Bush issued an edict back in 2002 (with the help of Gonzales, his nominee for Atty Gen) saying: "Gloves are off. Go ahead an torture. It's not torture anymore unless you cause organ failure or kill. Anything short of that is OK."

I heard a former head of Guantanamo staff speak where he proudly joked about how forceful they were with the prisoners. It was ugly. These folks believe God is on their side in their effort to remake the world in their own image. Not a surprise that the US is having a little p.r. problem as a result.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is totally against torture. He knows as well as anyone that:

a) It doesn't work.
b) It puts our own troops in danger
c) It hurts our ability to win hearts and minds around the world
d) It's against the law

Keep pushing. You are doing good by spreading the word. Undermining support for this house of cards is the secret to bringing it down. This has to be grass roots and you are a warrior on the front line....and you are having an effect...more than you know.

Deb said...

In addition to getting on the phone, a "take action" letter can be found at


It's an open letter to Gonzales signed by over 225 religious leaders. Your signature can be added as well. Thanks for taking action and speaking out.

Anonymous said...

If any of your children [GOD forbid] or mine were in the world trade building on 9/11 and a little "torture" would have saved their lives..what would you have our goverment do to them? These people only want to kill us and our children. And with your help, maybe they will succide.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Chuck, the Iraqis didn't perpetrate the events of 9/11; Al Qaeda did. But Bush has used Iraq and Al Qaeda in the same sentence so many times that many Americans like you mistakenly believe that we're fighting in Iraq because of 9/11. Whatever the reason Bush created the quagmire in Iraq, there's no reason to torture prisoners of war. If American soldiers do it, they open themselves up to being tortured when they're captured. If America lives by the principle that some human beings are worth less than others, it will eventually die by that principle.

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