Reject Torture

by digby

Scott Horton has announced a new initiative that I think is hugely important as we move into the general election season. It may be the most important foreign policy agenda item of all and yet it's one that all the candidates are loath to talk about in any detail and which the press seems determined to let them elude.

Horton lays it all out:

This post is about “No Torture. No Exceptions.” It’s an initiative with which I am deeply involved, dedicated to making certain that each presidential candidate makes stopping torture part of their campaign platform.

In its self-declared war on terror, the Bush Administration overturned an American legacy that stretched back to General Washington’s orders at Trenton and Princeton in 1776. The administration repudiated the order that the first and greatest Republican president issued in the heat of the Civil War, in 1863, prohibiting torture and official cruelty. The consequences have been nothing less than disastrous ...

The moral issue hovering over the 2008 election is the Bush Administration’s embrace of torture as a tool of statecraft. This mistake must be thoroughly repudiated, and the nation must undertake a vow never to repeat it. And this issue should not be allowed to divide the nation as a premise of partisan rancor. There is hope in this election year to reverse one of the most fateful decisions in our nation’s history–the decision after 9/11 to disregard America’s historic values and to use torture in the “war on terror.”

All the remaining Presidential candidates–John McCain in the Republican Party, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party–have publicly stated their opposition to the use of torture. Now each of these presidential candidates must get their parties to adopt at their Conventions a party platform plank that returns America to its historic position of absolutely rejecting torture–anywhere, on anyone, for any reason.

No Torture. No Exceptions” means:

This doesn't seem to me to be too much to ask.

The initiative includes McCain, but he gives nothing more than lip service on the subject and then votes against making the CIA, the primary torturers, follow the Army Field manual, which prohibits it. He's completely unreliable on this and I actually think he will do nothing about torture because fears being called soft on the subject because of his own experience.

So this is about the Democrats, and specifically the Democratic party platform, which should, in my view, come out clearly and without hedging, against torture. If the Democratic party can't stand up unequivocally for that principle, then I'm afraid all of its purported devotion to freedom, equality and social justice is pretty weak gruel. As Dick Cheney would say, this is a "no brainer."

Here's the web-site.