Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

The question is: Does the U.S. torture?

In regard to the Bush administration’s torture policy, I do not care what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew or when she knew it. Pelosi did not conspire to commit torture.

The he said/she said about a CIA briefing is a diversion by guilt-sharing from the real issue: Does the United States condone the torture of its prisoners, even though our laws and international law prohibit it? If so, we should change our laws to permit torture, and if not we should appoint an independent commission to investigate for the purpose of bringing charges.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has come out of hiding lately to tout his pride in the usefulness of the torture he approved. The positive spin might serve him well because there are no limitations on his possible indictment, due to a change in the federal law that Cheney had pushed for himself in the 2001 Patriot Act. The positive spin is another diversion.

Without showing more pictures of Abu Ghraib, the torture of detainees has been well documented. The Human Rights First report of 2006 showed that from 2002 through 2006, nearly 100 detainees died in United States custody. More than a third were victims of suspected or confirmed homicides and at least eight were known to have been tortured to death.

No CIA agents or civilian contractors were punished for this and the worst sentence given was five months. The seven soldiers at Abu Ghraib got three to 10 years because they got caught abusing prisoners on video.

President Obama seems to be ducking the torture issue because it is not politically expedient for his agenda. Yet, no decision is a decision. It means that some people are above the law. I thought America was better than that. Perhaps I was wrong.

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