August 31, 2009


Most adults would probably define the word "torture" as the absence of hot coffee on a wintry Monday morning. Most teenagers might reference staying awake through Biology or English. Most little children, if they understood the term, would possibly mention early bedtimes or having to eat vegetables...

But do any of us, living our relatively comfortable American lives, know what "torture" truly means?

Waterboarding. Sexual abuse. Kidnapping of relatives. These are things we might hear about on the news concerning detainees or prisoners of war (though of course they're not always called prisoners of war, in a strange show of "respecting" the Geneva Conventions). And, now, we hear that former Vice President Cheney is defending the use of torture, rationalizing it as aiding in the protection of American citizens.

But do we really understand what we're talking about, what the media loves to debate about, what Mr. Cheney is promoting? Think about it. Torture... It's the removal of basic human rights. Do we really want to make that acceptable? If we let our government find or create enough loopholes to justify torture, then we're giving our government rights it shouldn't have.

Yes, it's important to save Americans' (and other countries' citizens'!) lives by learning important pieces of information from captives. But... isn't deciding to rid other human beings of the right to live without being tortured a bit much? Think about it. Torture... the removal of basic human rights.

For one thing, if we grant the government the right to torture (or, rather, tell the government that it's okay, since torture is clearly already being used), then who's to say we won't lose our rights next? Who's to say the government won't take things a step further and arrest us without caring about habeas corpus or the Bill of Rights or any of that good stuff?

Please, let's just keep it clean. We're the good guys... remember?

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