Take your torture and go, George... My latest in The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Friday, Sept. 22, 2006, available as well at http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/opinion, where you may vote your opinion, www.oped.com, where lots of writers converge, www.moosemeals.com/oped.htm, where you may hear podcasts, and at www.newmillenniumwritings.com. If youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘d like to email me about how to write a letter to the editor, do so at email@example.com. Take Your Torture And Go, George by Don Williams George Bush 43, Commander-in-Chief, Decider, Your Royal Highness, however youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘d like to be addressedĂ˘â‚¬Â¦. For GodĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s sake, take your torture program and go. Take your secret prisons, your attack dogs, your electrodes, your water boards, your feeding tubes, your ceiling restraints, your whipping wires, your excruciating music, your sleep deprivation, your hobbles and cuffs. Take all such instruments and go. TheyĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re making things much worse, as I will show. I saw you on CNN, Sept. 15, and you said that unless Congress Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“clarifiesĂ˘â‚¬ Article 3 of the Geneva Accords, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“the program is not going forward.Ă˘â‚¬ You sounded like a spoilt child threatening to take his ball and go home. But you werenĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t talking about a little ball, you were talking about torture, though you wouldnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t call it that. So, if youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re that oblivious to how the majority of us feel about torture and the Geneva Accords, then please, maybe itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s time you took your Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“programĂ˘â‚¬ and went home to Texas. Heaven curse the day you ever decided to leave there. As Colin Powell suggested in his recent letter to John McCain, your undermining of the Geneva Accords threatens to take away whatever moral high ground our nation has attained. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s demoralizing our troops and further dividing the country. Worse yet, itĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s ineffective. Tell me what your Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“programĂ˘â‚¬ has done for us? You claim it shut down another attack on the homeland. Can you provide a shred of hard evidence? I can name a dozen things you got precisely wrongĂ˘â‚¬â€ťand in a very loud and petulant voiceĂ˘â‚¬â€ťleading up to the war in Iraq. One of them is especially pertinent, because it was based on torture. Over and over you suggested Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots, and in February of 2003, you sent Powell over to the UN to make that claim to the world. Turns out the information he cited was based on lies told by a man undergoing torture. I can show you where Newsweek, the New York Times, the New Yorker and others have documented that Powell unwittingly based his claim on lies told by one Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi. Al-Libi, a man with serious mental problems, told his interrogators in EgyptĂ˘â‚¬â€ťwhere heĂ˘â‚¬â„˘d been sent by the CIA for torture--that Saddam Hussein was teaching al-Qaeda how to make chemical and biological weapons. Powell didnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t refer to al-Libi by name, rather he called him Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“a senior terrorist operative,Ă˘â‚¬ according to the New Yorker. Later, al-Libi recanted and said heĂ˘â‚¬â„˘d made such false statements in order to end the torture. Unfortunately, by then it was too late. ItĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s likely that more than 100,000 people have died as a result of that bad information. ThatĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s how torture works. Bad information begets bad action. Ask Maher Arar, an innocent Canadian engineer who was mistakenly put on a watch list in Canada. Snagged at a U.S. airport in 2002, our government flew Arar to Syria, in secrecy, and against his protests. There he was beaten with cables and forced to live in a tiny underground grave, as he called it, unable to communicate with the family heĂ˘â‚¬â„˘d left behind. He was released without charges one year later thanks to pressure from the Canadian government. So yes, George, Your Highness, please, take your torture and go. It isnĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t working. While youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re at it, take your signing statements and all the cute titles for programs that mean the opposite of what you name them, and give us back our Constitution and our country. Try not to nuke anybody on your way out, as Seymour Hersh and several other reporters believe youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re itching to do. Just take your phosphorous, your depleted uranium, your cluster bombs, your secret labs and everything else youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve unleashed contrary to international law, and go away. If not now, then soon. At least say youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll go quietly come 2009 and not try slipping back into power, as some suggest youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ll do, heaven help us, through one of the loopholes youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ve blasted in the Constitution. Try to understand that, while some of us who loudly complain against you donĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t hate you, as our critics charge, weĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re heartsick and angry at what youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re doing to our country, its reputation, its once-generous soul, its capacity for optimism, joy, empathy and rational debate. WeĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re heartsick at what youĂ˘â‚¬â„˘re doing to our beautiful blue-green world. So please, take your talking points, your Karl Rove, your Condoleezza Rice, your hunting buddy Dick Cheney, your Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz and secretary of offense Donald Rumsfeld. Take all the wolves you placed in charge of all the henhousesĂ˘â‚¬â€ťat Treasury, Interior, FCC, Education, Labor, FDA, NRC. And then please let someone, anyoneĂ˘â‚¬â€ťmaybe your fatherĂ˘â‚¬â€ťtake you by the hand and lead you away, to a very safe place. --- Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary writing. His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He is finishing a novel, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Red State Blues,Ă˘â‚¬ set in his native Tennessee and Iraq. His book of selected journalism, Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best Writings About PeopleĂ˘â‚¬ by Don Williams, is now available for ordering. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit the NMW website at www.NewMillenniumWritings.com.