April 6, 1994 |
When the Singapore government recently sentenced an 18-year-old American to six lashes on the buttocks for vandalism, smug local officials called the punishment an example of their superior values. According to polls, many Americans agree that the punishment fits the crime, although they may not realize that flogging Singapore-style means tying the victim down on a trestle and ripping open his flesh with a wetted rattan cane. I call that torture (though I have no problem with the vandal serving time in a Singapore jail)
November 14, 2005 |
Well, I guess that settles that. "We do not torture," said President Bush on Nov. 7. Never mind all those torture pictures from Abu Ghraib. Never mind all those torture stories from Guant?namo Bay. Never mind the 2002 Justice Department memo that sought to justify torture. Never mind reports of U.S. officials sending detainees to other countries for torture. Never mind Dick Cheney lobbying to exempt the CIA from rules prohibiting torture. "We do not torture," said the President.
January 7, 2010
WHAT MIGHT HAVE happened if, last spring, President Obama hadn't blocked congressional hearings into the Bush administration's authorization of torture - or even a milder "truth commission" - that then was supported by 62 percent of the American people? Would Dick Cheney, sure to have been top on the list of those investigated, now be taking every opportunity to undermine the current commander in chief? Would the White House be scurrying to explain that Obama does too use the words "war" and "terror" enough?
December 1, 2005 |
AFTER THE photos from Abu Ghraib sickened the nation and the world last year, George W. Bush assured us that it was merely the work of "a few bad apples," and that "this country does not believe in torture. " In fact, on June 26, 2004, in a statement commemorating the U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Bush proclaimed that "freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law. " Those are some noble words, George.
May 10, 1989 |
Amnesty International accused Egypt today of torturing detainees, many of them Muslim fundamentalists, and it quoted some of those freed as saying they were whipped, hung by their wrists, given electric shocks and sexually abused. The human rights group urged President Hosni Mubarak's government to protect political detainees from torture by prison officials and ensure them prompt access to lawyers, relatives and doctors. "The torture testimony has been consistent and prompts the conclusion that there is a pattern of torture in Egypt," it said in a 40-page report.
May 27, 2009
I DON'T always agree with Michael Smerconish, but generally find him to be intelligent and thoughtful. Unfortunately, he and many otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people persist in the delusion that torture, as practiced by the U.S., should be referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques. " EIT, as defined by the infamous Yoo/Bybee memo, included not just waterboarding, prolonged stress positions and sleep deprivation, but also gouging eyes out, dousing with acid, slitting an ear, nose, or lip, and disabling a limb.
March 15, 2005 |
"Somebody tell me frankly, what times are these, what kind of world, what country?" THESE words come from a poem about torture that Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman composed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. But they resonate through the seemingly daily revelations from government and military reports of the abuse of prisoners by Americans in Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. They fit all too well the testimony of those whom the CIA allegedly delivered to countries where they were tortured.
January 27, 2012 |
BENGHAZI, Libya - Doctors Without Borders has suspended its work in prisons in the Libyan city of Misrata, saying torture was so rampant some detainees were taken there for care only to make them fit for further interrogation, the group said Thursday. The announcement was compounded by a statement from Amnesty International, which said it had recorded widespread prisoner abuse in other cities as well, leading to the death of several inmates. The allegations, which come more than three months after former leader Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed, were an embarrassment to the governing National Transitional Council, which is struggling to establish its authority in the divided nation.
November 21, 2005
I, LIKE Michael Smerconish, hope John McCain runs for president again, too. As does Smerconish, I like McCain. I like him because he is honest. And because I believe him to be a good man. McCain understands that torture is bad. It is, in fact, evil. He understands, unlike George Bush, Dick Cheney and apparently Philadelphia's own Michael Smerconish, that as the purported good guys in this "war" or any other, the U.S. shouldn't have torture as accepted policy. Simply stated, I believe that the U.S. should be what I was taught it was growing up - the good guy, the leader of the free world.
May 27, 2004
IWAS DEEPLY disturbed by your otherwise-excellent editorial titled "Rumsfeld must go" to see that you believe that "Torture has a place in the fight against terrorism. " What exactly is this place? According to one of the many Bush government explanations of its presence in Iraq, the U.S. attacked Iraq to free its people from the tyrant Saddam, who had tortured and killed thousands. Now we are saying that torture is all right as long as we are the ones doing it? And as long as the victim is a bona-fide terrorist?