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Tortured Interpretation of Geneva Convention

June 13, 2004

Re "Lawyers Ascribed Broad Power to Bush on Torture," June 10: The nation confronts the specter of an administration that argues the president is not bound by the prohibitions of the Geneva Convention on torture while it contrives legal devices to immunize its torturers from any punishment for human rights violations. The president proclaims a right to incarcerate citizen and noncitizen alike for indefinite periods without any indictment, trial or access to counsel. Where is the outrage?

At the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, then serving as chief counsel for the U.S., declared the many evils of the Nazi system, including this: "Upon the strength of [Gestapo] spying, individuals were dragged off to 'protective custody' and to concentration camps without legal proceedings of any kind and without statement of any reason therefor. The partisan Political Police were exempted from effective legal responsibility for their acts."

The nation should not flirt with such a course, let alone embark upon it.

Roger Funk

Los Angeles


The Constitution gives President Bush no such grant of authority on torture. If the president's legal advisors genuinely believe that the American executive branch can exempt itself from the requirements of international law, then our republic has crossed a fateful line.

Simply put, if the White House's claims that the president is not bound by international law are upheld, then the case can be made that he is not bound by domestic law, or for that matter by the Constitution, either. Because we are "at war," and the "war on terrorism" may, as the administration has warned, last "indefinitely," the president's lawyers have essentially composed a draft for dictatorship.

Larry N. George PhD

Professor, Department

of Political Science

Cal State Long Beach


I am angry and repulsed by an administration that can find a loophole that would circumvent the common decency of the Geneva Convention so we might "take the gloves off" during interrogations of prisoners, which is tantamount to condoning torture. The America I grew up in does not take such despicable actions but, rather, respects the humanity of all peoples of the world, including captured enemies, and treats them accordingly. I am sick with rage and disgust, as all conscientious Americans should be.

Steve Lyle



When the administration's initial response to reports of torture and humiliation of prisoners in custody in Iraq was that it was just the work of "a few bad apples," I thought that was evasive and insufficient. As things have developed, however, and more facts have come to light, I feel my first reaction was too hasty. I was in error. It really was just a few bad apples. Their names are Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.

Don McEvoy

Del Mar


The controversial memorandums supporting torture on demand by a U.S. president (Bush) are based on the assumption that the U.S. is always victorious and in control. On the way to large victories there are always small losses where our servicemen become POWs. The rules against terror are there to protect our POWs until the victory comes. Torture anytime is wrong!

Gilbert C. Alston


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