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The stain of torture
After two years of investigation, an independent bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment issued a 577-page report last week. It concluded that the Bush Administration sanctioned and engaged in routine and widespread torture.
The report finds that this torture has “no justification” and “damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive.” The task force also found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. (While a person subjected to torture might well divulge information; it was unreliable, the report says.)
The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.
Not only is torture illegal, and in violation of the Geneva Conventions; but it is counterproductive. Abu Ghraib lost us the Iraq War and brought new recruits to al-Qaeda.
All wars are insanely brutal, which is why “just cause” principles must be followed. But we mostly swept Vietnam’s “free fire zones” and the countless My Laitype massacres under the rug. So far, we have failed to prosecute those responsible for our immoral, unnecessary and costly invasion of Iraq. What shall we do now with those who have sullied our national character with this torture stain?
Torture and its defense is a shameful manifestation of the far Right’s growing anti-everything madness, fed by tribal-like hatred, un-Christian intolerance, nationalism, and conspiracy-laden, fear mongering. Other characteristics are the unceasing rants against anyone “different”: non-Christians, immigrants, gays or the poor.
The Greeks said that those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. This mean-spirited madness needs to stop for our survival to have worth.
Leonard Page • Cheboygan
On April 15, millions of Michigan middle class workers and families paid a big price for electing Gov. Snyder back in 2010. He cut homestead property tax credits, created a pension tax and lowered the earned income tax credit... then gave away $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars to corporate special interests. Thank you, Mr. Nerd.
It started with a new tax on pensions for retirees (my husband and I took a direct hit) and a tax hike for low-income workers.
Next on the chopping block, Snyder and Republicans (thank you Sen. Howard Walker and Rep. Wayne Schmidt) increased taxes on college students, the unemployed and homeowners to pay for giveaways to corporate CEOs.
They continue to include appropriations in new bills so as to make them referendumproof, purposefully bypassing the will of the people and, in effect, thumbing their noses at us. They are neutering our democracy.
It’s time for Gov. Snyder and the Lansing Republicans to stop this war on the middle class, education, women, and YOU and ME. Their extreme legislative decisions are directly affecting more of us every day. Snyder has become a shill for the runaway train known as our Republican Legislature. This craziness and self-serving must stop.
Oh, by the way, Gov. Snyder, Sen.
Walker, Rep. Schmidt... where are the jobs?
Deni Scrudato • TC
The pain of war
I don’t mean to offend anyone or be insensitive at this somber time in our history.
The Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, 9/11, the Sandy Hook massacre, the seemingly daily violence in our country, and now the Boston Marathon bombings, leaves us saddened, bewildered and angry. We try to figure out what is going wrong.
The scene at the end of the Boston Marathon was comparable to war! If the media captured graphically, with the same intensity as Boston, the terror bestowed on innocent civilians and US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, our country would surely feel that same sadness and anger. People running in horror. Lost loved ones. Children maimed. 2,754 civilians (people like you and I) killed in Afghanistan in 2012. 4,805 wounded.
Our troops? Thousands dead?
Over 33,000 wounded? Over 2,400 amputations? Over 300,000 suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress? More soldiers committing suicide than those killed in action?
For 11 years this has been going on!
Does there have to be a national tragedy on our soil for our media to show us the pain? Why do they not show the pain of citizens in other countries ravaged by war? Or the pain suffered by our own troops? Why is that not on the front page of every paper in America? Why is that not covered 24/7 by the television media? Would the citizens of our country demand an end to our involvement if they saw photos and read stories daily regarding our war (s)?
What you saw April 15 in Boston was war. Those who were there experienced it. War is horror.
Tim Keenan, President, Veterans for Peace • Chapter 50
As a social worker who worked his entire career in the field of juvenile justice, I fully concur with Stephen Tuttle’s article entitled “Profoundly wrong” regarding juvenile offenders sentenced to very long or even mandatory life sentences in prison.
In every state, there are statutes that determine at what age children that are accused of committing a crime are tried, and, if convicted, are sentenced as adults. In Michigan, children between the ages of 14 through 16 accused of committing a felony may be waived from the juvenile court over to the adult court, and if found guilty, be sentenced as an adult.
Our forefathers, when drafting our criminal and civil statutes, adopted much of the British statutes, including the recognition of the development of children. Thus, the behavior of children should be held to a different standard than adults.
In fact, the vast majority of youthful offenders do not require placement in residential facilities at all. Juvenile probation officers or social workers can help children and their parents to resolve behavioral problems.
In closing, I would ask readers to reflect back on their own childhoods and recall some of the foolish things we did as kids; as we matured, we modified our behavior. In fact, current studies indicate that we don’t reach full maturity until ages of 23-25!
Bill Lovett, MSW • CharlevoixGot Extra?
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