President Bush’s nomination of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general will almost certainly intensify the focus on the use of torture in U.S. policy in the war on terror and the war against Iraq.
Two-thirds of Americans say the U.S. should abide by international laws barring governments from ever using physical torture, while 29 percent found those laws “too restrictive,” according to a new poll.
Vietnam veteran John Smathers and his wife, Judy, knelt at the altar rail at the Falls Church, a 272-year-old faith community at which George Washington once prayed, just outside the nation’s capital in Virginia. Holding a microphone, they bowed their heads before worshipers struggling to come to terms with disturbing photographs of American soldiers sadistically abusing Iraqi prisoners.
Both the International Red Cross and Amnesty International knew about the horrors of Abu Ghraib. Both organizations had sent reports detailing brutal behavior in U.S.-run Iraqi prisons to military authorities. But no action was taken until Specialist Joseph M. Darby alerted the army’s Criminal Investigation Division and mentioned photographs.