Friday, July 29, 2011

Honoring those who stood against torture

Even if President Obama doesn’t do so formally, we can recognize those who bucked authority to expose and oppose U.S. abuses. 

Editorial

L.A.Times, July 27, 2011

Protesters, both dressed in an orange overalls to depict detainees at the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, demonstrates outside Britain's Houses of Parliament, where President Obama was to give an address May 25. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo)
Protesters, both dressed in an orange overalls to depict detainees at the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba, demonstrates outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament, where President Obama was to give an address May 25. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo)

The American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations have called on President Obama to honor military personnel and civilians who opposed the use of torture in the war on terror. We would support such a gesture by the president, though we consider it unlikely given how often he has said that he wants to “look forward, not backward” regarding abuses committed during the George W. Bush administration.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take the president to shed light on the identities of government employees who balked at or questioned the Bush policies. The ACLU itself has played a valuable role in publicizing the actions of people like Joseph Darby, an Army reservist and whistle-blower who turned over Abu Ghraib abuse photos to Army investigators, and former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, who led an effort inside the Department of Defense to oppose Justice Department legal opinions condoning coercive interrogation methods.

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