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Torture Debate May Not Go in Our Favor

By       Message John Bruhns     Permalink
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The torture issue isn't as black and white as Cheney (from the right) or the bleeding hearts (from the left) make it out to be. Lawmakers must ignore political pressure and carefully examine the interpretations of established law and precedent. Laws that the United States signed onto. If we jump to conclusions and rush this debate through to appease political interests groups we'll never get the truth.

We can beat the dead horse until we're blue in the face going after Bush and Cheney for their past practices regarding the treatment of detainees or we could close the door on that dark page of history, learn from our mistakes, and take the necessary corrective action to get this thing right once and for all.

If we put 10 lawyers in a room and asked them if Bush and Cheney had the legal authority to torture members of Al-Qeada it's quite possible that we'd receive ten different opinions.

Even if it went to the Supreme Court the laws are so ambiguous that we would likely get another 5-4 ruling. It's just too hard to nail down.

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Despite my liberal views on most issues I don't give a damn that Abu Zubayda and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were waterboarded x amount of times. All those out there playing the violin for them should remember if the tables were turned these two psychopaths would behead their American fan base in a heartbeat. What concerns me is making sure this doesn't happen to our citizens, innocent people, or future prisoners of war from conventional armies belonging to sovereign nations.

Many keep asking for transparency. Asking the same questions over and over again. Yet we all know the answers already. There is no doubt the Bush Administration engaged in acts of torture, enhanced interrogation techniques, or whatever you wish to call it. Cheney and his daughter are on a media blitz bragging and begging for investigations. Playing the media like a fiddle as they take the bait.

The media cares more about this story than most Americans do for the simple reason they need news to print. After all, they make a living at the expense of others. I love our free press. I just wish it hadn't turned into celebrity entertainment. I want the story not the spin.

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I'm very thankful that President Obama chose not to disclose the thousands of unseen photographs of detainee abuse. I hated being in Iraq. I would hate it even more if I were there now and those repulsive pictures surfaced. The backlash from the Arab world would be a disaster.

I'm not joining the right-wing on this issue. They feel we should keep conducting the same harsh practices that we're ashamed of letting the rest of the world see. That Bush and Cheney were just scared men trying protect America -- how naive.

It makes me think of the "dooms day" or "ticking time bomb" scenario that keeps getting shoved down our throats from Cheney and his minuscule following. As if that's their ace in the hole. Sorry but it's shared by many others. Most people agree that our leaders should do whatever is necessary to stop an imminent attack on American soil.

Most people also agree that hooking someone up to electrical wires won't generate accurate intelligence.

In addition, we didn't didn't waterboard Abu Zubayda or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to stop an imminent attack on America. It had to be done a hundred times over a lengthy period of time to get their cooperation. And presently we really don't know if we got them to cooperate or if they just told the interrogators what they wanted to hear.

We're always looking for someone to blame. The Bush Administration, Congress, and the Justice Department. Look at the Congressional hearings on C-SPAN. You'll see the same cast of characters in the audience protesting. Not a big following.

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So they blame Congress and the Speaker too -- loving the circular firing squad. However, it doesn't matter what Speaker Pelosi knew at the time. Surely she wasn't the only member of Congress privy to classified information. The key word is "classified."

In fact, after Abu Ghraib we all knew what was going on. Even worse, the American people (with that knowledge) elected Bush in 2004 fair and square. After he started the Iraq war and after Abu Ghraib.

The American people empowered them to continue. We've since learned from our mistakes -- hence the 2008 election.

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John Bruhns is an Iraq war veteran. He writes on politics and Mideast conflict.

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