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Friday, November 28, 2008

Torture: Truth and Reconciliation Imperative

by Sarah Meyer
Index Research

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"I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process. I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice those values; that I was a President that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them. I surrounded myself with good people. I carefully considered the advice of smart, capable people and made tough decisions. I'd like to be a President (known) as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace; that focused on individuals rather than process." George Bush (The self-described "compassionate conservative": 12.11.08 interview)

Michael Isikoff wrote an article in Newsweek entitled ‘Obama To Take On Torture’: The “new Obama Justice Department is not likely to launch major new criminal probes of harsh interrogations and other alleged abuses by the Bush administration.”

Chris Hedges, in War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,wrote (p.130):

The effort to give a name to the victims and killers begins a collective act of repentance, a national catharsis. The process, as seen in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is the only escape. And while justice is not always done … dignity, identity, and most important, memory are returned. This, for many families, is enough. …

Usually those who pay the price – if there is one to be paid – are the lowly gunmen who are tried and imprisoned to take the heat off their commanders. Most of those who carry out war crimes, however, are never punished. They are allowed to fade away in retirement, whispered about but never finally condemned. There are powerful institutions security services, armed forces, and ministries of the interior, that my permit some facts to be exposed but will rarely permit a society to ascribe any responsibility to the actual state organs that directed the killings. Yet despite the inevitable injustice of any investigation, the power it has to restore memory is vital for recovery from war

Mr. Hedges continues the theme of memory and reconciliation until the end of the chapter, p. 141:

"There probably can never be full recovery of memory, but in order to escape the miasma of war there must be some partial rehabilitation, some recognition of the denial and perversion, some new way given to speak that lays bare the myth as fantasy and the cause as bankrupt. The whole truth may finally be to hard to utter, but the process of healing only begins when we are able to at least acknowledge the tragedy and accept our share of the blame."

Our whole world deserves this Truth and Reconciliation process. Mr. Hedges’ morally powerful and moving book should be on all college reading lists as well as as a MUST READ for the US Justice Department, and the Pentagon and White House staff.



Full copies of the Cheney indictments (21.11.08)


Philippe Sands Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values Palgrave Macmillan (May 13, 2008)


Sarah Meyer is an independent researcher living in the UK. With thanks to Musafir and Winston.

the url to Torture: Truth and Reconciliation Imperative is:
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Chris Hedges

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