Put a stop to torture

I have no doubt that, if given the chance, terrorists would rid the Earth of everyone who doesn’t like them. I also have no doubt that a task like that would start in America.

They hate us — then again, so do a lot of people — but I can’t help but wonder if we are agitating the situation.

I used to love the show “24.” Jack Bauer can’t manage to spend a minute of his day doing anything other than saving a major city. Usually that involves some variation on a situation where a person is tortured to get information about where a bomb, or gas bomb, or dog with a bomb in it, might be. Once while watching the show, I couldn’t help but find myself thinking that if Jack Bauer would break one more bone in a terrorist’s body, he would no doubt be able to find the bomb that was going to bring down the shopping district of Rodeo Drive.

Upon catching myself with this thought in my head, I became ashamed.

Really? Torture is the answer? I realized then that I disagreed with the unassuming part of my brain that thought that Jack Bauer could do no wrong — because torture is not the answer.

I know the arguments for torture, and no, I am not suggesting that we play patty-cake with terrorist suspects, but I am suggesting that we don’t simulate their death by partially drowning them upside down.

Recently, presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson said that torture procedures like waterboarding should not be ruled out and that Guantanamo Bay should remain open.

I don’t have a problem with the prison remaining open. However, I do have a problem with our country throwing the Geneva Conventions out the window and torturing prisoners. No matter how many times President Bush calls them “enemy combatants” and claims that they are therefore, not protected under the conventions, I can’t help but see the prisoners we have as what they really are — prisoners of war who should be afforded the rights of a policy that’s supposed to separate humanitarianism from barbarianism.

Politicians use the excuses that Islamic radicals want to kill Americans and that without these practices we cannot properly fight the war on terror.

Here’s a thought, though, isn’t it feasible to think that by torturing our prisoners of war, we are only instilling in them, and in the people of their countries, a greater hatred of America? We cannot know the effect our actions have now, but it is possible that some day, our prisoners will go home and tell all those around them exactly what we did to them.

The hatred will recycle and give rise to a new generation of those who want to hurt our nation.

The United States, and specifically those presidential candidates who could one day be the leaders of our country, need to take a stand on the torture that happens at Guantanamo Bay. As every other country is expected to, we need to abide by the Geneva Conventions because it’s the only way to ensure the respectable standing of our nation in the future.

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