Iraq: Use of torture reflects on our character

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Enough wiith the obsession about how the American people were misled into supporting a war with Iraq. It’s been hashed over and over and over, right?

That’s the opinion of many Americans, but not all of them. Count us among those who will continue to speak about how it all began, because some of the thinking that led to the war is alive and well today.

It’s still heard in the White House as vice president Dick Cheney fights for the right to torture, or as it’s more politely known, the right to practice “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In November 2001, a high-level al Qaeda member named Ibn al-Shayjkh al-Libi was captured in Pakistan and flown to Egypt where prisoner abuse is common. This was a notable moment in American history—a shift in policy which allowed the CIA to use the “enhanced” methods against al Qaeda detainees.

Al-Libi soon told his interrogators just what they wanted to hear, that al Qaeda had help from the government of Iraq to acquire chemical and biological weapons.

This became the basis for the administration’s pre-war claims about the Iraq/alQaeda connection, the so-called “credible evidence.”

The problem is that al-Libi was lying. Through torture, he fed his captors information he knew they wanted to hear. A report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said as much long before the “credible evidence” became part of administration officials’ run-up to war. Much later, al-Libi admitted that the information was false.

As many intelligence experts point out, torture doesn’t work. You get some truth along with a lot of garbage.

Late last year the Senate overwhelmingly backed a ban on torture, despite the vice president’s strong lobbying and the president’s threat of a veto. The president signed the bill, but added a “signing statement” outlining his interpretation of the law which said, in effect, “I can authorize torture if I want to.”

Sen. John McCain noted that our enemies have no respect for human life and don’t deserve our sympathy, but that doesn’t entitle us to act as they do. McCain, himself a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war, added these words about the change in America’s character:

“This isn’t about who they are. This is about who we are.”

- Jan. 18, 2006
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017