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Letter: The credibility gap on torture

We don't do torture, according to President George Bush.

Then why did his good friend Alberto Gonzales as White House counsel go to the Justice Department in 2002 to get a ruling as to the extent of the president's authority to permit "extreme interrogation practices"? When the memorandum came with the definition of torture as "physical pain of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury such as death or organ failure," why wasn't it rejected immediately?

We don't do torture, according to Bush.

What about the "ghost" detainees whom General Antonio Taguba's report defined as people being held "without accounting for them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their detention"? The report continues with the "ghosts" being "moved around within the facility to hide them from a visiting International Committee of the Red Cross survey team. This maneuver was deceptive, contrary to Army doctrine, and in violation of international law." Why was it necessary to hide them from the Red Cross?

We don't do torture, according to Bush.

What about the "rendition" of detainees to countries that we formerly condemned for their treatment of prisoners? What about Abu Ghraib? What about the covert CIA prison system in eight countries that was revealed this month?

We don't do torture, according to Bush.

Why is Cheney, who had five deferments during Vietnam because "he had other priorities," lobbying Congress to modify the McCain amendment? The amendment proposed by John McCain (R-Ariz.) who learned about torture during his five and half years as a POW in Vietnam, calls for the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of all prisoners. Cheney wants Congress to exempt prisoners under CIA control from these restrictions since that would limit the president's options!

We don't do torture, according to Bush.

Why has Bush threatened to veto a bill for the first time since he has been in office if the McCain amendment goes unscathed in the reconciliation between the House and the Senate versions?

We don't do torture, according to Bush?

Why do I have trouble believing him?

Barbara M. Edwards