Voices from the Black Sites

Paul Harvey

Mark Danner, "U.S. Torture: Voices from the Black Sites," from the New York Review of Books, is a grim saga of the era of faith-based foreign policy through which we just lived. The piece shows how "torture destroys justice," and makes one wonder how far Reinhold Niebuhr would have stretched his concept of "morally hazardous acts." Not this far, surely. Among the conclusions from this carefully wrought and documented piece:

1. Beginning in the spring of 2002 the United States government began to torture prisoners. This torture, approved by the President of the United States and monitored in its daily unfolding by senior officials, including the nation's highest law enforcement officer, clearly violated major treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture, as well as US law.

2. The most senior officers of the US government, President George W. Bush first among them, repeatedly and explicitly lied about this, both in reports to international institutions and directly to the public. The President lied about it in news conferences, interviews, and, most explicitly, in speeches expressly intended to set out the administration's policy on interrogation before the people who had elected him.


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