A May 1 editorial in the Las Vegas Sun called for a bipartisan commission to investigate the Bush administration’s torture policy. In response, a Monday letter to the editor from Bob Lewicki — headlined “Just where would commissions end?” — ironically claimed we should investigate everything then, including George Washington and the cherry tree incident.
Yet there is something unique with the Bush torture policy. It is the first time I know of that the CIA was used by the United States to torture prisoners in our custody.
The idea that our country does not torture is based on World War II policies, but since 1950 the CIA has been studying torture techniques and has been exporting its knowledge abroad through the Office of Public Safety and the School of the Americas. However, torture was not our official policy, until the George W. Bush administration.
We cannot move forward with a torture precedent in our immediate past, even if torture worked. Do international law, our treaties and our Constitution mean nothing? Can American citizens be tortured? Is our fear of what attacks might happen more important to us than what will certainly happen if we permit our government to torture those whom it determines to be “enemies of the people”? Where will it all end, indeed?