Monday, February 18, 2008

Unforgivable Behavior

The torture debate not only continues, it continues to grow more and more heinous every day. The New York Times revealed in an op-ed Sunday that there is a connection between the torture that we have been inflicting and the decision to seek the death penalty for six of the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Morris Davis, an Air Force colonel who was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from 2005 to 2007 writes, in part,
My policy as the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantánamo was that evidence derived through waterboarding was off limits. That should still be our policy. To do otherwise is not only an affront to American justice, it will potentially put prosecutors at risk for using illegally obtained evidence.

Unfortunately, I was overruled on the question, and I resigned my position to call attention to the issue — efforts that were hampered by my being placed under a gag rule and ordered not to testify at a Senate hearing. While some high-level military and civilian officials have rightly expressed indignation on the issue, the current state can be described generally as indifference and inaction.

I am stunned and unutterably saddened that my nation, the nation whose uniform I once wore with pride, not only tortures but uses evidence obtained by torture in an effort to put men to death.

To prosecute those who have committed crimes against this nation is fitting and proper. The death penalty is arguable. To use in support of the death penalty evidence obtained by means of torture is unforgivable and unacceptable under any circumstances.

This is not the behavior of a civilized nation. This is the behavior of a nation governed by thugs and criminals. This is the behavior of a nation governed by an Idi Amin, not by a successor to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

This. Must. Not. Stand.

We have accepted much from this thug who presently occupies and disgraces our nation’s highest office. We must not accept this. I have written my Representative in Congress and both of the Senators from my state, urging in the strongest possible civil terms that they put a stop to this atrocity, and I beg you to do likewise.

Colonel Davis deserves our utmost respect for his dedication to human decency and for resigning his command so that, freed from the quicksand of military disciplinary restraint, he could speak out against this national disgrace. We owe it to him, to ourselves, and to every man and woman who has given a life in the service of this nation to join him in demanding that this outrage be prevented.

This is the point at which we must demand, “Enough. No more.”

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