Independent Christian Voice


The incongruence between American values and our government's actions

Douglas A. Johnson, the executive director of the Center for Victims of Torture based in Minneapolis, explains in a column for the Star Tribune why torture doesn't work and how it's contrary to what America stands for.

The accumulation of evidence about our own government's descent into torture and ill treatment paints a stark picture: a global network of secret detention cells, torture and deaths of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo, and worldwide networks to support a policy known as rendition, where the United States sends detainees to countries that torture.

Despite this bleak reality, I believe Americans share a common vision that the U.S. stands for human dignity, fairness and the rule of law. But the incongruence between our values and our government's actions is great, and clearly exemplified by the president's declaration that the U.S. does not torture while at the same time the vice president aggressively lobbies Congress to oppose legislation that would prevent torture. [...]

There could not be a more critical time when American voices are needed. The Senate demonstrated that torture is not a partisan issue. All of us must contact our representatives and urge them to support the McCain amendment. In addition, we must tell our president we do not need to use torture or any form of cruelty to protect our security. We do need him to protect our values. If we do not, then we must accept responsibility for our government's shameful actions.

[Read entire column]

An editorial in the same paper sums it up best:

Discussions of torture invariably deal both with questions of morality and effectiveness. In truth, torture fails both tests, as Douglas Johnson writes on Page AA1. But while our leaders state flatly that it doesn't work and that the United States does not torture, thereby seeming to agree that torture is immoral, they have acted otherwise. They have redefined what torture is, they have allowed U.S. personnel to engage in abusive "enhanced techniques" of interrogation and they have "renditioned" detainees to nations known to torture under any definition.

(Hat tip to Once Upon A Time)


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