Campaign to Ban Torture
Jerry and I went to an event downtown last night at the Orlando Public Library, The Campaign to Ban Torture. A panel of distinguished retired military, diplomatic, and community religious leaders were on hand to tell about their efforts to ban all U.S.-sponsored torture. Former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, stated in no uncertain terms that torture erodes U.S. values and undermines our security. This message was strongly echoed by every member of the panel. It was disappointing how sparsely attended the event was and a real eye-opener, from the military perspective, about how the disastrous change in policy allowing torture under the Bush administration has immeasurably weakened our country. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal was instrumental in getting Congress to limit military interrogators' techniques to those outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual, which rules out torture and is based on the "golden rule." However, an effort to extend that ban to CIA interrogators was vetoed by George W. Bush this year. As long as lower standards exist for any government agency, it taints our standing in the world as a moral leader and champion of justice. Since President Bush refuses to do the right thing, it's up to the next president to do so. This Campaign is about making sure our voices are heard and the next President will do what's necessary and begin healing our country by banning all forms of torture. I hope you will sign the petition on their website and forward it to as many people as you can. We need to close this dark chapter in our history once and for all.