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Torture debate is a dangerous path

May 24, 2009|By ROBERT A. MORRIS

President Obama ordered the release of memos regarding the "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" against the advice of his chosen and current director of the CIA, Leon Panetta.

Former CIA directors and other current administration officials opposed this move as well. While our President is against leavening criminal indictments on those that performed these interrogations, he has left the door wide open to have the formulators of "Enhanced Interrogation" subject to prosecution or perhaps disbarment.

In addition, some Democratic members of Congress are calling for a full investigation of the matter, a fraction of whom served on House and Senate committees who had oversight on this affair. If these respected people were not outraged during the Bush administration why are we hearing their outcry at this moment?

However, former Vice President Dick Cheney has called for all memos to now be released to demonstrate that these "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" were fruitful in extinguishing further terrorist acts. The powers that be of have yet to respond. Why?

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It is the president's prerogative to change policy and it is Congress' charge to implement law where appropriate. Congress could have outlawed these interrogation techniques if it thought this appropriate, but it did not.

Looking back at a previous administration's policy efforts to protect the American public and then paving the way for the eventual indictment of officials of capacity serves no useful purpose in my estimation. Shall we indict Congresswomen Pelosi and Harman or Senator Rockefeller as well who had oversight in this affair? It appears apparent that Speaker Pelosi is at best now evading the truth.

It is nonsense to castigate a former administration for their aggressive stance to protect the American people. It is simply a waste of time and will likely impugn the very people who made us safe. President Obama has said there are other ways to get information. I have no argument there, but let us all remind ourselves that time can be of the utmost essence. These interrogations were performed by professional people and a physician was present to ensure that the health and welfare of the individual being interrogated was preserved. To be sure, some interrogations prove fruitful while others do not. Interrogating a committed terrorist is likely difficult, and I am just a layman, but from my perspective, I will side with expediency. Expediency has its own set of problems, but in the finality, what would you do if your family were at risk?

Every presidential administration has policies that some find disagreeable. We are a democracy, not some banana republic. Those looking backward allow argument to be conveniently suspended over President Obama's economic recovery plan and other ventures.

Politics can be very nasty at times but no one should use a former administration's policy to enhance the standing of a particular party or office holder. It is not right and it is not effective in moving our country forward. Looking at the past can be instructive, but I can assure you this avenue will not bear fruitful information.

This issue will not serve our new president or the Democratic party. I say this unequivocally: If this matter progresses much further the body count will be high, both parties will be irreparably harmed and the United States will be substantially reduced in stature, not to mention that our enemies will become ever more aggressive.

Robert A. Morris is a resident of Gerrardstown, W.Va.

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