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The War on Torture | The Nation

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The War on Torture

In Connecticut today, a statewide interfaith network of religious leaders--Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice-- working with with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, is calling on the state's Congressional delegation to take a firm stand against weakening the United States' commitment to Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

"Nothing less than the soul of our nation is at stake," said the Reverend Allie Perry, "not to mention the rule of law."

Senator Joe Lieberman--who might soon join forces with the Decider to serve as his official sidekick, the Moral Equivocator--has seized the opportunity to (somewhat) oppose President Bush's torture proposal. "I think McCain's got it right," said Lieberman. "I think we're probably in agreement in about 90 percent on how we should treat them."

But what Jolting Joe can't cut and run from--as Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith point out in their recent article on The Nation.com--are his votes to strip Guantánamo captives of the right to habeas corpus, and to confirm Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, essentially endorsing Gonzales' infamous torture memo.

If Lieberman sees supporting the Warner/McCain/Graham bill as a way to take an election year stand against Bush while posing as protector of our historical international obligations, he is dead wrong. As J. Wells Dixon of the Center for Constitutional Rights said, "The Administration and Warner bills...would authorize the life-long detention of more than 450 men who have been imprisoned in Guantánamo for nearly five years without ever having been charged with an offense or receiving a fair hearing. This is unconscionable. Every person detained by our nation must receive a fair hearing--one that does not rely on secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture or coercion--because fairness and due process are what America stands for."

In Connecticut, and across the nation, as candidates are forced to take a stand on such issues as torture, habeas corpus, and the separation of powers, we will learn who represents our finest traditions, and who would settle for a poor imitation which will further erode our historical role as a beacon for human rights.

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