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26 April 2006 @ 01:54 pm
Do you believe that torture is ever justified?  
I do not and was shocked to read the following:

"As incredible as it seems, at least 73 percent of the U.S. public believe
that torture may be used at least rarely, and 15 percent believe that
it is “often” permissible."

If you are interested in learning more, please read on. Below is an excerpt from an email I received this morning from Joe Volk of the Friends Committee on National Legislation:

April 27 looms, the sad anniversary of the release of photos from Abu
Ghraib prison. Photos of brutality, photos of sexual abuse, photos of
religious defilement, photos of macabre treatment of the dead. Photos
that brought horror and shame to our doorsteps in the United States.

The Abu Ghraib photos catapulted the issue of torture to the front
page. They drew attention to the protests over U.S. torture policy
which had grown steadily during the past 50 years, protests to which
the general U.S. public previously had turned a deaf ear. In a way,
the Abu Ghraib photos exposed not only torture but also the national
complacency over torture as an element of U.S. policy and practice.

As if the Abu Ghraib photos weren’t enough, in a seemingly endless
blizzard of bad news, the media reports continue:
-- Detainee deaths at the hands of U.S. soldiers.
-- Aggressive, excruciatingly painful force-feeding with humiliating
immobilization at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
-- Secret prisons for the “disappeared,” scattered around the globe.
-- U.S. troops in Iraq failing to remove tortured detainees from
Iraqi custody.

*“We the people” must act*

We know that we must change the policy, shut down the facilities, root
out the perpetrators, and bring them to justice. The responsibility for
reform does not rest solely with the administration. Congress could be
a powerful agent for change. Congress can govern the terms and
conditions of military detentions through funding imperatives and
establishment of effective oversight. Congress can authorize
independent investigations and use its subpoena power to gain access to
the information it needs.

However, legislation is only part of what needs to be done. Congress
works by breaking a problem down into its parts and then addressing
those components – the isolated, tangible aspects that can be
addressed by statute. The broader role of laboring with Congress to
define the direction in which it should move, to define the problems,
and to highlight the details necessary to resolve those problems, falls
to “we the people.”

The photos from Abu Ghraib confirmed that anti-torture advocacy must
first occur at the congregation, the meeting, the community level. As
incredible as it seems, at least 73 percent of the U.S. public believe
that torture may be used at least rarely, and 15 percent believe that
it is “often” permissible.
Our work with Congress on the issue of
torture will not be successful until we have labored with those from
our communities who are afraid of being invaded, afraid of harm to
themselves and their family members, afraid of losing the security of
U.S. national boundaries.

*Outreach efforts with two goals are most effective.*

-- Be an attentive and responsive listener, aware of the very real
emotions on which contrary viewpoints are grounded and aware of the
courage it takes those who are afraid to ask the tough questions;
-- Be prepared to mention the unintended consequences of U.S.
torture:

(1) it serves as a recruiting tool for the burgeoning
collection of terrorists world-wide, leaving us less safe and less
secure at home;
(2) it puts our own troops in great danger of
retaliatory torture;
(3) it permanently damages the individual who is
the torturer;
(4) it decreases our effectiveness in prevention of war
through plummeting world opinion;
(5) it is a slippery slope that leads
to war crimes and state-sponsored assassination.

*New Resources for local congregations, meetings, and initiatives.*

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT),
www.nrcat.org, is a national inter-religious campaign organized by
faith leaders and theological scholars. NRCAT gathers the leadership
and creative energy of a wide range of religious faiths into a
cooperative effort to abolish U.S. sponsored torture.

More than 25 religious organizations, including Muslim, Jewish,
Christian, Sikh, humanist, and ecumenical denominations and
congregations, have become participating or endorsing members of NRCAT.
You can see a list at http://www.nrcat.org/members.aspx.

If you wish to endorse the anti-torture statement at the NRCAT link above, look for a link at the bottom of that page.

For further background information about torture, visit FCNL's website
at http://www.fcnl.org/issues/issue.php?issue_id=70

_______________________________________

The Next Step for Iraq: Join FCNL's Iraq Campaign, http://www.fcnl.org/iraq/

Contact Congress and the Administration:
http://capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/officials/

Order FCNL publications and "War is Not the Answer" campaign
bumper stickers and yard signs:
http://www.fcnl.org/pubs/
http://www.fcnl.org/forms/forms.php?type=bump

________________________________________

Friends Committee on National Legislation
245 Second St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795
fcnl@fcnl.org * http://www.fcnl.org
phone: (202)547-6000 * toll-free: (800)630-1330

We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored.