Friday, September 5, 2008

Torture and McCain

Though the present US Administration declares that the US does not engage in torture, it is pretty obvious that treatment of people imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere is torture.

I've been listening to some of the speeches at the Republican National Congress. One thing I have noticed in these speeches is reference to Senator McCain's experience as a POW in Viet Nam and the torture he endured. Speaking of this experience, Rudy Giuliani makes the following comment:

He was tortured in a POW camp. But he refused his captor's offer of early release, because this is a man who believes in serving a cause greater than self interest, and that cause is the United States of America. America comes first. He has proved his commitment with his blood.

McCain is being presented as a person of strength and courage; a person who will not bow down to the tyranny of others. This is a virtue to be honoured, a virtue that makes a person worthy of one's respect and admiration.

But let us take another look at that remark by Guiliani, but with a few words different.

He was tortured in Guantanamo. But he refused his captor's offer of early release, because this is a man who believes in serving a cause greater than self interest, and that cause is Islam. Islam comes first. He has proved his commitment with his blood.

Torture is a vile evil, and we ought condemn any person or nation that engages in its use. The use of torture by the US against those people it alleges to be members of al-Qa'ida is evil, and it is an evil that will haunt the West for decades to come. Just as the Republicans honor McCain and hold his example high, so too will Islamists honour those that the US has and are continuing to torture.

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