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
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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