Human Rights

Report on Torture

The International Herald Tribune had an excellent editorial on the Senate’s recently released report on the use of torture; an excerpt follows:

Most Americans have long known that the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not the work of a few low-ranking sociopaths. All but President George W. Bush’s most unquestioning supporters recognized the chain of unprincipled decisions that led to the abuse, torture and death in prisons run by the American military and intelligence services.

Now, a bipartisan report by the Senate Armed Services Committee has made what amounts to a strong case for bringing criminal charges against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William Haynes; and potentially other top officials, including the former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

You can read the whole thing by clicking here

About five years ago, in a sermon I gave on the subject of abuse of prisoners, I said (at the time I was living in Canada):

I am usually proud to be an American. I don’t usually make a big deal over this, recognizing I’m living and working in Canada. But America is a great country, and it is built on some great values like respect for the rights of individuals. Right now I’m ashamed to be an American. I’m ashamed that such torture happened in prisons operated by the military I once proudly served, and I’m even more ashamed that one of the top leaders of my country authorized it.

You can read the whole thing here.

I agree with the IHT in hoping that one of President Obama’s first official acts will be to repeal President Bush’s infamous executive order of February 7, 2002, which effectively took America out of the Geneva Convention.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rav Barry

Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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