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Letter: America’s torture history comes to light in report

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Ann Jones


With the recent exchange of prisoners, the American people again recognize a very dark chapter in our history after 9/11, the illegal use of torture referred to by some as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” June is Torture Awareness Month, and we now have a 6,000-page bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report that will be released in part to the public. It is not easy reading.

The task force noted the use of torture was “illegal, abhorrent, and cruel” and included several cases where individuals were tortured to death. Led by notables such as William Sessions and Asa Hutchinson, the task force goes on to state that the use of torture was so excessive even the Red Cross debated internally whether to compromise their own confidentiality guidelines in order to make the American public aware of the activities, though it chose not to.

Quite simply, our past practices are an open festering wound in need of healing, and the Senate Intelligence Committee hopefully will work to further understand and address the challenges the detailed report represents, some of which include the very democratic principles that rely on the government being accountable to its citizens.

Torture is deplorable and the highest degree of immoral behavior. It runs contrary to all religions and dishonors all faiths. Torture is degrading to all involved — the victim, the perpetrator and the policy makers. It is illegal without exception. My own religious denomination, Presbyterian, affirms that God is at work in the world, healing brokenness. Ending torture and releasing the report in my opinion is part of a call to be faithful. Doing so will help to ensure our government does not engage in torture again. For further action see and send a letter to President Barack Obama to make the report public as soon as possible with minimal redaction.

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