Editorial: President Bush needs to walk his talk on torture
It is time for President Bush to walk his talk. Earlier this week Bush declared "We do not torture!" The problem is most people -- foreign or domestic -- don't believe the president's statement. An AP-Ipsos poll, released Friday, found that most ...
It is time for President Bush to walk his talk.
Earlier this week Bush declared "We do not torture!"
The problem is most people -- foreign or domestic -- don't believe the president's statement.
An AP-Ipsos poll, released Friday, found that most Americans are not impressed with the Bush administration's ethics. And almost six in 10 believe Bush is not honest.
When the majority of his own citizens question Bush's honesty, it is no wonder that many foreigners have serious questions about this administration.
The facts are Bush is not walking his talk. On Monday, he stated "We do not torture."
Yet at the same time Bush threatened to veto (it would be his first veto ever) legislation prohibiting torture of detainees captured by U.S. authorities and held any place in the world. And both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been lobbying Congress to exempt the Central Intelligence Agency from any future torture ban.
A serious fight is developing in Congress over the treatment of prisoners by U.S. interrogators. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the torture ban 90-9 and the measure moved to the House.
Authored by Sen. John McCain, who was tortured himself as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, the legislation would ban "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of any person in U.S. custody, regardless of location or nationality.
Even Congress' trust of the administration has been weakened by the recent revelation of the CIA holding detainees in secret prisons in foreign countries.
Add those reports to the earlier reports of prisoner abuse at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, and there is little wonder the world questions the United States' actions.
Most importantly, most experts argue that torture does not lead to the discovery of useful information. McCain said "under torture, a detainee will tell his interrogator anything to make the pain stop." In addition, he said torturing for information is immoral. And, most importantly, he said it encourages our enemies to do the same to Americans.
Many former and some current CIA operatives agree that torture does not yield useful information. Finally, torture remains illegal under international and U.S. law.
We believe McCain, an American veteran who experienced torture, knows a little more about the lack of value in torture-generated information than Cheney, who never served in the military due to draft deferments.
Congress should approve the McCain-authored torture ban bill and the president should sign it.