Pushing for a commission to investigate U.S. use of torture

June is Torture Awareness Month and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture is making sure the topic remains in the forefront.

The Rev. Richard Killmer, the campaign’s executive director, and the organization’s supporters are planning a witness during the noon hour June 11 at the White House. They will bring one primary message to President Barack Obama: Establish an independent commission to investigate the use of torture by U.S. interrogators on detainees held since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began.

While the anti-torture campaign has welcomed Obama’s executive order banning the use of torture and calling for the closing of the U.S. Army prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by January 2010, the organization maintains that the country must confront its past and the best way to do so is through a commission of inquiry. 

Representatives of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture believe that by looking at what the country has done in the past, America can move forward and take steps so that torture never again becomes a part of U.S. practice.

Eight heads of faith groups are expected to participate in the June 11 witness. People from as far away as California are expected to join them.

The religious leaders will hold a press conference a couple of hours before the event to explain why they feel a commission of inquiry is necessary.

The anti-torture campaign has been invited to send a delegation to meet with White House officials after the vigil. Representatives plan to deliver a letter to the president outlining the reasons for their call.

In case you’re wondering, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has not taken a stance on such a commission.

On the other hand the bishops have supported the president’s executive order and are working to enact the order into law, said Stephen Colecchi, director of the bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace.

5 Responses

  1. I do not believe such a commission serves the interests of the US. It is a political ploy by the left to embarras the US in world opinion. The facts are already known and the political discussion is about semantics.

  2. Let’s see….what did Jesus say about police and soldiers and the like? Something about not exceeding and abusing their authority? Jesus clearly knew already that those in “authority” have a temptation and maybe even a tendency to exceed their lawful authority and abuse others. Especially the weak.

    Can we even propose that Christ’s suffering and crucifixion were indeed state-sponsored and approved “torture”?

    So, in this present day and age, what would Jesus do about all this torture, by all sorts of governments from across the globe?

    My hunch? He’d probably throw-up and get physically ill.

  3. Torture is an Intrinsic Evil-Catechism of The Catholic Church-It must always be opposed-ALWAYS-the end cannot justify the means…

  4. So how exactly has the interrogation policy changed? The new president noted there are “exceptions” to his “non torture” policy.

  5. When I think of torture, I have visions of Mr. Pearl’s and Mr. Berg’s heads being held up for cameras after they had been beheaded alive. Also Mr. Klinghoffer’s family having to watch as he was pushed overboard in his wheelchair. I remember people leaping to their death from the top floors of the World Trade Center to escape being burned alive. Families of Pan Am 103 victims standing at the airport waiting for word. A young girl calling 911 as she was dieing after her father shot her and her sister for violating Sharia “moral” behavior. And, the Taliban bringing people into stadium half time, in the back of pick up trucks, for public execution with bullets to the back of the head. Yes indeed, there’s torture and then there’s TORTURE! I hope the church considers the information gathered during our non-lethal, non-maming enhanced interrogation, and the lives that were saved. Perhaps the church would be better off focusing on the torture pain that late term infants feel during partial birth abortion.

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