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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 15, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Torture

Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

Activists pour water on Perry Wright during a January 2008 waterboarding demonstration in Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. Multiple groups demanded the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Kudos for keeping photos under wraps

Editor, The Times:

President Obama is to be congratulated for blocking the release of detainee photos, since that would only aid our terrorist enemies [“President reverses decision on photos,” page one, May 14].

I only wish he had given similar consideration to publication of the memos about enhanced-interrogation techniques, which has gutted our intelligence-gathering agencies.

— Edward Wittmann, Seattle

Government is really afraid of outrage

Oh, for criminy sake, let’s stop posing and talk about what’s really going on with the torture photos and memos.

First of all, it’s not enhanced interrogation. It’s torture. Second, we aren’t afraid of what will happen when the terrorists see them because they already know all about them. Third, it’s not even about the photos and memos.

We are faced with two problems that we have never dealt with before and we don’t know what to do. We have a deposed leader who is guilty of war crimes and genocide for profit on a massive scale and we are scared to death to open that can of worms. Our government is afraid that airing these things will ferment our outrage to the point of demanding a reaction to this shameful blot on our national pride that might well set precedents that will alter the course of history in ways that cannot be controlled.

The other problem is that, like every world-dominating empire, we are hated for our arrogance and this is typical of the kind of scenario that precedes a massive effort to bring down such a power.

The answer is confession, contrition, apology and correction.

— Harold R. Pettus, Everett

Have Christians lost their values?

I am saddened that so many of my evangelical brothers and sisters think torture can be justified in certain situations [“An evangelical divide in debate over torture,” News, May 14]. This is situation ethics, not Christian ethics. Situation ethics says that right and wrong depend on the situation. Christian ethics says right and wrong are what Jesus says are right and wrong.

In addition to the Golden Rule, Jesus also said that the second greatest commandment is to love one’s neighbor as oneself. He then used an illustration to show that one’s neighbor can be someone from a nation one doesn’t exactly like (Luke 10:29-37).

In the U.S., information or a confession gained through coercion is inadmissible in a court of law. At least the law recognizes that people will say what they are expected to say when they are being tortured, whether true or not.

I am concerned for the future of our nation. Have we completely lost our values? Christians: If you have forgotten that God judges nations, may I suggest a reading through the Prophets?

— The Rev. Deena Jones, Arlington

Fascinated by moral flexibility

In regard to the article “An evangelical divide in debate over torture,” I find it fascinating that while white evangelicals in this country are extremely strict and absolutist in regard to just about everything, including abortion, sex before marriage, gay marriage, homosexuality, fidelity and the interpretation of the Bible and the Second Amendment, most of them are so morally flexible when it comes to torture!

— Alex Zedicoff, Seattle

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