Torture is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of conscience. It’s not about citing extreme circumstances, but about applying a universal standard of human ethics. It’s not about finding ways to win the war on terrorism, but about not losing our souls in the process.
Torture is not a partisan issue. Consider the comments of Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina, during the confirmation hearing for Michael Mukasey:
If we allow our executive in certain rare circumstances to use techniques like waterboarding, then what do we say when a downed airman is in the hands of another enemy in another war, and they argue, “Well, I had to do this, because I needed to know when the next air attack was going to occur.”
The NPR story containing this quote from Sen. Graham also supplies some background on “waterboarding.”
Waterboarding is a process of controlled drowning used in the Spanish Inquisition … For more than a century, it has been considered a war crime by the United States and prosecuted as such. The top legal officers of all the military services have testified that waterboarding is illegal under U.S. and international law.
If we have called it torture for more than a century and if our legal experts in the military still call it torture, then isn’t is torture? And if we say we don’t torture, why can’t we say that we categorically reject waterboarding as aid to interrogation? Because we don’t want to let detainees know what is or is not in our interrogation arsenal? Because we want them and the rest of the world to think we might indeed use torture?
Torture is not a partisan issue. It is an issue of conscience … of personal conscience and of national conscience.