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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Scapegoating torture

Injustice is devaluation of the tortured

David S. Broder’s column, “The scapegoating should cease” [Opinion, April 26], attempts to discredit those who want an investigation into the Cheney-Bush torture program.

Broder accuses us of wanting “the humiliation” of those responsible; of having “an unworthy desire for vengeance”; of conducting a “retroactive search for scapegoats”; and of turning “policy disagreements into political or criminal vendettas.” He claims “a so-called truth commission” will lead to “endless political warfare” and “untold bitterness — and injustice.”

In Broder’s world, presidential actions cannot be questioned; only the motives of citizens are suspect.

Were the Nuremberg Trials motivated by an unworthy desire for vengeance? Were they about scapegoating well-meaning Nazis that just had policy disagreements with the Allies? Or were they about trying those responsible for crimes against humanity?

Scapegoating is the blaming of groups of innocent people. Truth commissions are the exact opposite. They are designed to identify by name those responsible for ordering war crimes.

More than 20 Afghans and Iraqis have been tortured to death. They were not “high-value detainees,” in Broder’s words. They were just innocent human beings who apparently have no value to those who defend torture.

Broder says the torture memos were decided “in the proper places — the White House, the intelligence agencies and the Justice Department — by the proper officials.” Absolutely false! Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution says, “The Congress shall have Power To … make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.” The Congress made laws concerning torture and the treatment of prisoners. Cheney and Bush broke those laws, in secret, and lied to the Congress and the American people about it.

Broder may think justice isn’t important. Tell that to the families of the innocent people broken by the Cheney-Bush torture program.

— Bill Distler, Bellingham

Comments | More in George W. Bush, Guantanamo Bay detention center

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