Letter to Jeb Bush: Torture is Never Justifiable

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Tagged: , ,

Published on August 18, 2015 with No Comments

Republican candidate for president, Jeb. Photo via Wikipedia by Michael Vadon.

Republican candidate for president, Jeb Bush. Photo via Wikipedia by Michael Vadon.

By Ralph E. Stone

August 18, 2015

Mr. Bush — or Jeb if you don’t mind — I was greatly disturbed to hear that if you became president you won’t rule out the resumption of the use of torture arguing that brutal questioning methods might be justifiable and necessary in some circumstances. Torture is never justifiable.

President Obama banned CIA torture by executive order in January 2009. I urge you to reconsider your statement concerning torture and agree to leave President Obama’s executive order in place. I don’t want a president who would use torture.

I assume you have read the Senate Torture Report. If you have not, I suggest you read it. The Report found, among other things, that the CIA misled Congress, the Justice Department, and your brother about the “effectiveness” of torture methods used, including waterboarding, shackling detainees in painful positions, prolonged sleep deprivation, rectal feeding, and slamming detainees against walls. The Report also found that those abuses did not help locate Osama bin Laden or thwart any terrorist plots, and were in fact counterproductive.

Remember what went on at Abu Ghraib, at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and our extraordinary rendition program (secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to other countries where torture was used)?

The release of the Senate Torture Report should have reminded you that human torture is not only morally unacceptable – it is also a crime. Hopefully your statement was not made to pander to those voters who believe themselves superior to other countries and thus, anything the United States does to protect our national interests, including torture, is somehow justifiable.

Jeb, by using torture, we lose any moral or ideological advantage we might have including the promotion of democracy, freedom, and human rights. We become the thugs our enemies say we are.
I urge you to void your statement on the possible use of torture and unequivocally promise never to use torture if you become the president of the United States.

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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