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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 30, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Torture debate

One question would answer it all

There is a very simple way of clearing up the controversy over enhanced interrogation: one simple question to President Obama.

Just ask this: “If it would save the lives of your children, would you allow enhanced interrogation methods to be used on a terrorist?”

His answer would end the discussion forever.

— Ed Anderson, Kirkland

Investigate Bybee’s role further

With the implementation of interrogation policies designed to extricate false confessions from detainees, federal judge Jay Bybee’s memorandums on interrogation were instrumental in deciding the fate of a nation [“Bybee hints at regret over memo,” News, April 26].

Bybee’s policies were constructed to forge an entirely fabricated case for invading a country that posed no threat to the U.S. In addition, it is now clear Bybee’s intervention played a pivotal role that not only precipitated the illegal war, but undermined America’s security and put our military personnel at risk. How many American casualties can be attributed to Bybee’s guidance?

As someone who personally suffers from a condition in which immense pain can result from even gentle touch, I seriously question the legality of any physical contact or manipulation of detainees, let alone imposing the violence perpetrated upon these victims.

The events that led to creation of the policy justifying the application of “enhanced interrogation methods” need to be investigated. If these policies can be attributed to Bybee in any way, he not only needs to be impeached, but the details need to be exposed to ensure that the judicial system is never so seriously abused again.

— John F. Boettner, Seattle

Banning torture a dangerous plan

With impeccable 20/20 hindsight, President Obama says the U.S. will no longer use waterboarding and that we could have found out the same vital information from terrorists by other means. The operative word here is “could.” That means that he’s willing to gamble perhaps thousands of American lives that he can find out about future terror plans through other means.

This is a new era we’re living in, with no clear battle lines and murky motives. To try to keep this country safe while clinging to hackneyed liberal ideology is an exercise in futility. He has no problem using governmental power to take over virtually every area of the economy, yet he’s just a bit squeamish about the methods used to keep us safe.

It will soon be open season on U.S. citizens. Here’s hoping Obama wises up before the carnage hits Main Street.

— Denny Andrews, Bellevue

Guilty until proven innocent?

Regardless of whether one agrees or not with Patrick Burns’ views in “Torture: It’s not about vengeance” [Northwest Voices, Opinion, April 29], he is grossly in error when he states, “… that suspect deserves the right to prove himself innocent.”

It is, rather, the burden of the government to prove the suspect guilty. Until this occurs, the suspect is presumed innocent. This is such a basic tenet of our society that it is worrisome to see it turned on its head!

— Mary C. Winter, Kenmore

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


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