June is Torture Awareness Month
From Bloggers Against Torture:
As many of you know, there is growing evidence that Coalition governments, including the United States, are systematically engaging in the use of torture and inhuman treatment as part of the Global War on Terror. As citizens of these nations, we have a responsibility to keep our own governments accountable. We want to make our voice heard, and say, "this is not consistent with our shared values!"
Ah, but standing up against injustice can be lonely business. Who is hearing what we have to say, and are we making a difference?
I believe the key is to network and synergise with others. That's where this blogroll comes in.
June 26th is the date that the United Nations has marked as the International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture. This year a coalition of human rights, civil liberties and faith organizations have declared June “Torture Awareness Month” in an effort to respond to the growing evidence that the United States government is engaging systematically in the use of torture and inhuman treatment as part of the “war on terror.” We believe that the use of torture and inhuman treatment must end immediately and everyone involved in committing these abuses or fostering the environment in which they occurred be held accountable.
The mere fact that we as Americans have to even face this issue sickens me. Even as President Bush proclaimed America did not torture its enemies, Vice-President Cheney was haunting the back halls of Congress seeking exemptions to the McCain Anti-Torture legislation.
Our President, a supposed Christian, signed Sen. John McCain's torture bill into law, but with it issued a signing statement to the effect that the President will decide when and if he will follow that law. He stated, in effect, that as the Commander-in-Chief, his is the sole authority to decide when and if the law will be followed.
From News You Can Abuse: [emphasis mine]
I think the single thing that has hurt us the most, is his policies on torture. Or should I say, his approval of torture. One of the most disturbing events, to me, was the McCain Anti-Torture bill. I'll never forget the footage of McCain and Bush sitting together all kissy face smiley to let the Americans know they had reached an agreement on the Anti-Torture bill. I remember thinking…well alright….maybe there's hope. My hopes were quickly dashed. What people don't remember is that Bush didn't sign the bill for two weeks. No…..he waited until 8pm on December 30th (New Years weekend), when no one was watching, and attached a signing statement to it. The signing statement clearly stated the President will only follow the new Anti-Torture law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch….and consistent with the constitutional lmitations on the judicial power." In short, he thinks it is for him, not Congress or the courts to determine when and if the provisions of the Anti-Torture bill interfere with his war making powers. If they do, he will totally and freely ignore the law.
America, you used to be better than this! If there was one thing that allowed us, as a nation, to hold our heads high, it was that we treated our enemies with a respect they never even came close to deserving.
President Bush's refusal to forego torture is a direct and reprehensible affront to the Christian faith he professes and the God he worships.
From an op-ed by Robert Crawford in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: (emphasis mine]
People who see the image of God in every human being cannot tolerate officially sanctioned torture. Along with many secularists, they cannot witness grave injustice without responding. Many have also been informed by history: If one knows of an evil and does not act, one becomes a "bystander" — a person who by choosing to be silent enters into complicity with the evil witnessed.
Torture is an absolute degradation of human dignity. […]
It is time for all Americans to stand up and take a stand. Future generations will look back on this time in our history as one of shame and disgrace, when a President chose to use semantic manuevering to ignore both moral law and the Geneva Convention. It is time we as a nation stand up and tell President Bush 'No more. Not in our name'.
I found this at No2Torture, the Presbyterian Initiative Against Torture:
"Cowardice asks the question – is it safe?
Expediency asks the question – is it politic?
Vanity asks the question – is it popular?
But conscience asks the question – is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular
but one must take it because it is right."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
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