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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • 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).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • 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.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • 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.

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