Monday, April 14, 2008


For what its worth, this was printed in the local paper on 04/20/08

To the Editor:

There can now be no doubt that we are a Nation that tortures prisoners. Since this is an issue that goes to the very heart of what we are, this is an issue that should be confronted in every public forum available, including this one.

Torture is morally abhorrent and we cannot continue to claim that we are a moral nation if we do not immediately, and without ambiguity, both cease and desist in the torturing of prisoners, and foreswear, once again, the use of such odious activities. There is no need to rehearse what is involved here, there is more than ample public documentation. The pictures from Abu Ghraib that so stunned the civilized world in 2004 are only the beginning.

In this confrontation, we must not consider the alleged “utility” of torture. The armor of moral authority is extraordinarily fragile in this regard and can be completely shattered by the tiniest admission of moral relevance or situation ethics.

Why is it so hard to consider this issue? One answer is that all of us, including and particularly our highest leaders, are now legally culpable for agreeing to these activities. The entire structure of our Laws is threatened by inaction on this issue. This is almost impossible to comprehend, but it is an obligation from which we must not shirk. We owe it to our children to clear our good name as a Nation.

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