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by Steve Young

If President Bush needs clarity to interpret the Geneva Conventions anti-torture provisions - and he really means it - the next visitor to the Oval Office should be Maher Arar, a Canadian computer consultant who was labeled - wrongly - as a dangerous radical and "an Islamic extremist individual."

If Congress needs to hear what being held without due justice under CIA cover as it is now, the next person they need to interview is Maher Arar, who was taken by U.S. authorities and secretly rendered to Syria, where he was "...beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he never has been -- and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months," said a report focusing on Canadian intelligence

If John McCain, Lindsay Graham, John Warner and Colin Powell need to confirm what they've believed all along about how wrong-headed and criminal the Bush Administration's desire to continue their definition of legal interrogation, the next persons they need to break bread with is Maher Arar and his wife - a university economist - who were placed on al-Qaeda "watchlist," without any justification.

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If Hannity and O'Reilly truly want to inform their listeners and Fox News fans of what the president's "clarification" really asks for, then the next person they need to interview is Maher Arar, who will tell them that "an innocent Canadian was tortured, his life was put upside down, and it set him back years and years." That is if he can get that out before he is interrupted by a litany of talking points by the host.

If the American public needs to find out what could happen to an innocent person, to them or to their loved ones under the justification of "KEEPING AMERICA SAFE , meet Maher Arar.

Sometimes there's a failure to communicate. Sometimes there's a failure of strategy. Sometimes there's a failure of men and government. Unless we shine the light on these failures and the brutality they generate, the lessons we can learn from them to make us a better people and better country will whither in the dark.

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Before we let the Senate compromise their morality and principle, let's all shine the light on Maher Arar. We owe it to him. We owe it to us.

Steve Young is the author of " Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (Tallfellow Press) and his weekly Sunday column appears to the left of Bill O'Reilly's every Sunday in the L.A. Daily News.


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