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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

America: Torture Nation

Prof. George Hunsinger of Princeton Theological Seminary wrote an important piece for Common Dreams, entitled, History Will Not Absolve Us.

According to an explosive ABC News report on April 9, dozens of top-secret meetings took place in the White House, beginning in 2002, in which the president’s top advisors approved the use of torture. Those involved were members of the National Security Council’s “Principals Committee” — Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and John Ashcroft. Unfortunately, however, these dramatic revelations have been largely ignored by the media and the public. Yet we now know more clearly than ever before that it is because of these senior officials — and not just Animal House on the night shift — that America is regarded around the world as a Torture Nation.

The techniques that the advisors not only approved, but reportedly even choreographed in particular cases amount to torture by any reasonable standard. Near drowning (waterboarding), sleep deprivation, subjection to temperatures of extreme cold (hypothermia), physical assault and stress positions are proscribed by international and domestic law. They are gulag tactics that have no place in a democratic society. John Ashcroft rightly asked at one point: “Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.” But according to the report, Condoleezza Rice prevailed, telling the CIA: “This is your baby. Go do it.”

Prof. Hunsinger has a new book due this fall: Torture is a Moral Issue: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and People of Conscience Speak Out.

Hunsinger is the founder of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

h/t Doug
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