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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 26, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Torture

Coercion used for confessions, real or phony

Amid the arguments for and against torture, or “enhanced interrogation techniques,” we should keep in mind that this type of coercion has never been intended to reveal truth [“Coercive methods prepared before OK,” page one, April 22].

From the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century, to the Salem trials in the 17th century, to the interrogations used on certain suspects in American police stations in the 20th century, these techniques have been used only to elicit confessions and admissions that the torturers needed to hear.

The Bush/Cheney administration tortured people not to learn of dastardly deeds in the works, nor to elicit honest confessions, but only to obtain “information” which would then justify its war in Iraq and other secret and illegal actions around the world.

— Dan Salins, Seattle

We are all responsible

Yes, waterboarding is torture. Yes, slamming a person against a wall is torture. Yes, hanging a person by his wrists is torture.

We, and I mean we, have broken the Geneva Conventions, and thereby the Constitution. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Should George W. Bush and Dick Cheney be prosecuted for this? Yes. Should members of their administration be prosecuted for writing memos that OK’d torture? Yes. Should members of the CIA be prosecuted for committing torture? Yes.

But so should we, the citizens of the United States. We should have been more diligent in demanding that every human being be treated with respect, even the worst of the worst. May we strive to be better with all our being.

— Yoshe Revelle, Bellingham

Republicans hiding from blame

I think the subtext of this entire sad story about the torture memos is that the Republicans, and specifically Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney, have major potential criminal exposure in regard to authorizing and managing the extraordinary interrogation techniques employed by officers and contractors of the CIA.

It seems to me that Cheney’s entire offensive campaign of the last several weeks has been to use his favorite tactic –distraction — to remove himself from the center of the question of who in the Bush administration authorized the torture of detainees in U.S. custody or sent detainees to prisons outside of U.S. control for the purposes of torturing them.

The Republicans know that if the truth is that Cheney and Rice authorized torture in contravention of U.S. and international law, the Republicans will have a permanent mark against them in convincing the American public that they should ever be trusted with the power of the U.S. government to make or conduct war.

— Gerry Merritt, Eugene, Ore.

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