Other campus: U.S. should ban torture (U.Alabama)

By The Crimson White

(U-WIRE) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – More so than any other country in the world, the United States of America is founded upon a pillar of ideals. Freedom. Justice. Liberty. Those are just some of the words that could be used to describe the guiding principles of our Founding Fathers. And they are the same principles that should still guide us today.

Torture just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere, yet we’re in a two-front debate on the issue in our country.

On one side, the Bush administration is trying to defeat a Senate measure that would officially ban most forms of torture. Authored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the measure would prevent cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control of the United States government. Vice President Dick Cheney, who is seeking to exempt the CIA from the proposed ban, is spearheading the administration’s opposition.

In another area, the Pentagon issued a directive Tuesday prohibiting acts of physical or mental torture. It also said dogs shall not be used as part of an interrogation approach nor to harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce a detainee for interrogation purposes. The Pentagon measure, however, did not explicitly define what constitutes torture.

Torture became a national issue after the abuses in Iraq’s Abu Grahib prison came to light. In those now infamous pictures, naked prisoners are mocked and forced into twisted pyramids, all seemingly for the amusement of American servicemen and women.

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Shadowy tactics like this and holding prisoners indefinitely in the War on Terror often cross the line. A congressional ban on torture would be nice, but we all know that will do little to stop what goes on in dark rooms in far-flung corners of the world. We need this measure on the books because we have ceded too much power to an executive branch that only craves more. It is time to return balance to our government.

The war we are in is not one of large standing armies, complicated forward assaults and carefully positioned artillery. This is a war of ideals, a war between the democratic principles of peace and freedom and the brutal anarchy of fear and terror. For America to hold on to the moral high ground, there must be clear distinctions between our enemy and us. We must be above the fray.

Staff Editorial

The Crimson White (U. Alabama)