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In response to a leaked report that states that Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists, President Bush complained that media reports were creating "confusion in the minds of the American people." Apparently, he took offense to the assumption that many media outlets made that America was less safe now than before 9/11. Considering that the report, the National Intelligence Estimate, also mentioned that more Muslims are considering themselves jihadists than before, it seems to be a fair assumption to make. But the point here is not the media's so-called spin on the report. The point is Bush's statement, which reflects his rampant neglect of integrity or consistency.

If President Bush is so concerned about the clarity of our perceptions, perhaps he should examine his own policies, and the statements he makes concerning them. Consider this: in December of 2005, after agreeing to Senator John McCain's legislatorial provision to ban torture, President Bush made the following comment concerning the ban, "Make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad."

Of course, Bush is no longer such an adamant defender of international code. He is now attempting to get legislation passed that would allow the White House to interpret the codes of the Geneva Convention, in effect giving the Administration greater leeway on torture. Talk about confusing.

Bush is not just confusing Americans, he is putting us in danger. Water-boarding, extreme temperatures, and sleep and food deprivation are some of the techniques being debated. The effectiveness of this "torture-lite" has been called under question.

Some interrogation experts claim that winning the confidence of the prisoner, not humiliating and punishing him, is the key to gaining information. While experts debate what is and is not torture or effective or legal, a vital point is being missed. That point is the effect on Muslims.

When an innocent man is stripped naked, placed in a frigid room, and doused with cold water, or almost drowned repeatedly, it doesn't matter whether the Geneva Conventions supports what is being done. And therein lies the danger: the United States has just made al Qaeda's recruitment speech for them. It's hard to win hearts and minds when bodies are being battered and broken.


I am a student at Temple University.

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