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US must stop 'outsourcing' torture

Page 2 of 2 -- Yet, Bush administration officials continue to request the rendition of prisoners to countries known to engage in torture. The United States will lose credibility if it continues to export the ''dirty work" of interrogating and abusing terrorist suspects as a tactic in the war on terror.

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said there is no guarantee when we hand over prisoners, ''once someone is rendered, we can't fully control what that country might do." If we can't control what happens to prisoners who may have vital information affecting US security, then we should not be sending them to the hands of governments like Uzbekistan, a nation known for its practice of submerging prisoners in boiling water. Reports from one prisoner death in Uzbeki custody included wave marks on the torso of the prisoner who died in a boiling vat, after having his teeth smashed and fingernails torn out.

Sending prisoners overseas to extract information through water torture, removal of toenails and fingernails, beatings, and electrocution at the request of US officials is inhumane and must be stopped. If we believe these detainees are terrorists who have intelligence information vital to protecting our country, we should hold and question them ourselves.

Throughout US history we have defeated brutal enemies, inhumane and monstrous dictators, and met with hideous violence. Our legacy is that we uphold our commitment to justice in the face of terror and war. The test of a nation is found as much in how it wages war as in how it promotes the values of peace and democracy. Our capacity to convince others to take risks for freedom relies on our steadfast dedication to upholding these principles. There will be no victory in this war, if the values of democracy, justice and rule of law are lost in the battle.

The symbol of American justice is the Greek goddess Themis, a blindfolded woman, the very image of the equal administration of the law, without corruption, prejudice, or favor. We must not replace the goddess bearing the scales of justice with the images of abuse: shackles, electrical wires, and torture chambers. Abhorring torture, in deed as well as word, is a moral principle in a world yearning for moral footing. The United States should be a proud voice for justice and democracy, not a participant in the stealthy, illegal, and reprehensible practice of ''outsourcing" torture.

US Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, introduced Bill HR 952 to eliminate the practice of ''outsourcing torture" on Feb. 17. 

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