FEBRUARY 13TH, 2008 | TomHarkin
Yesterday, the Senate passed the Intelligence Authorization Act, which bans the use of torture by the United States government. Under the Act, specific practices that the Bush Administration has employed, including waterboarding, electric shocks, beatings, use of dogs, forcing prisoners to stand naked, and induced hypothermia, will be explicitly prohibited. It was a close vote, but Democrats prevailed in our effort to regain our moral authority around the world.
The President has, throughout his entire administration, damaged our credibility around the world by sanctioning the use of torture. We lost our moral balance when this president lowered our standards on this critical issue. The world expects more from us and we should meet and exceed those expectations.
Going back to ratification of the Geneva Convention over fifty years ago, Congress has repeatedly stated that torture is a violation of the nation’s highest values and is simply not permitted. The Bush Administration has simply refused to acknowledge that the practices it has employed are illegal.
The Senate’s vote made it very clear that abuse and torture of detainees is a crime that will not be tolerated. Not only is torture against our nation’s values, it is simply ineffective, as our military has repeatedly emphasized. Notable military officials and veterans have deplored these tactics, including General David Petraeus. But this reckless president and his Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, continue to tarnish America’s integrity by sanctioning torture.
As we continue to look toward the future, we can not afford to sit back and wait for a new president to restore our moral standing around the world.
I am proud of what the Senate did to ban torture.
Thanks for your continued support,