My Turn: Report on torture must be made public
The long-awaited report of findings related to the U.S. use of detainee torture was recently released. The 500-page report, prepared by the Constitution Project’s bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment, raises serious concerns about the treatment of post-9/11 detainees by the U.S. government. The report describes how the decisions to use certain interrogation techniques were made and how they were implemented. This report raises deeply moral issues and demands a moral response.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has completed its own thorough investigation, this time accessing classified documents. This larger report – 6,000 pages long and approved in a bipartisan vote on Dec. 13, 2012 – will now go before the Senate (likely in September) for a vote on whether to release this report to the American public. Making these documents public is critically essential if Americans are to truly understand our use of interrogation techniques and if we are to determine whether these techniques rise to the level of torture. The Senate Intelligence Committee took more than three years to conduct the investigation leading to this report, and the public should have an opportunity to review the information and learn the nature of the practices used in interrogation. There is hope that the information it brings to light will serve as a catalyst for us to take steps that never allow our government to use torture to interrogate prisoners.
The New Hampshire Council of Churches, an ecumenical organization representing Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christian traditions throughout the state stands with hundreds of other diverse, faith-based communities in every state calling for the release of this Senate Intelligence Report. Only then can there be widespread understanding of the facts, facts that can arouse our public conscience for change and in advocating for behavior and standards of government conduct that align with our common belief and core value in the supreme value of all human life.
(Rev. Linda Lea Snyder is interim executive director of the New Hampshire Council of Churches.)