Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JUNE 08, 2009 7:26 AM

Debate over waterboarding misses the point

As bad as waterboarding is, especially when applied hundreds of times to a suspect, it is the least of many horrendous torture methods used. According to Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, the former U.S. Army officer who conducted the inquiry into Abu Ghraib prison, unreleased photos and video show “torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.” This includes U.S. soldiers raping male and female detainees and using truncheons, wire, and phosphorescent tubes in sexual assaults. According to those familiar with the tapes, videos show young boys being sodomized in front of their mothers, husbands and wives raped in front of their spouses, etc.

At one point, the Bush administration debated whether it was acceptable to crush a child’s testicles in front of his father. After these torture sessions, doctors described some the dead bodies as “pulpified.” Of course, the torturers, and their enablers such as Dick Cheney, prefer debating waterboarding. If all evidence were released, they would be imprisoned for war crimes. President Obama’s cowardly excuse for not releasing all evidence is that it would endanger U.S. soldiers. No one, soldier or civilian, is safe as long as these sadistic criminals are free. For Obama, political expediency overruled doing what was right. The Pentagon fears the truth might burst the naïve notion that because someone puts on a uniform it makes them some sort of hero. I’ll never forget my experience after joining the Army how conservative political types would practically grovel at your feet just because you wore a uniform. This mass hypnosis, “support the troops” sheep-like behavior is necessary in order for governments to wage war based on lies. Many Americans forget the founders of this country distrusted standing armies and abhorred torture so deeply they banned cruel or unusual punishment in the Constitution.

Jay Miller
UI graduate

Senator displays health-care hypocrisy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, receives government-provided and taxpayer-subsidized — the best health care taxpayer dollars can buy. I urge him to change his opposition and allowing uninsured Americans (including small farmers and rural Americans) the same option.

Grassley has said, “Employers, especially small businesses, would stop offering coverage since they would be able to tell employees to get their coverage from the government plan.” But many small businesses are already uninsured. The Center for Rural Affairs says rural communities are a unique economy dominated by small businesses and self-employment. The 50 percent of rural residents who work for small businesses such as farming and ranching are twice as likely to be uninsured. For 25 percent of noncorporate farms and ranches, medical debt contributes to financial problems.

If rural residents suffer more from chronic diseases simply because they cannot afford health insurance coverage, shouldn’t we support health care for them?

Judy Pfohl
Iowa City

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