Members and supporters of the Washington Region Religious Campaign Against Torture dressed as detainees yesterday during a demonstration orchestrated to "demand Congressional action to stop torture" on Capitol Hill. President Bush's veto of HR 2082 over the weekend — a bill that would prohibit all US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, from subjecting detainees to waterboarding, stress positions, hypothermia, and other forms of torture — was at the center of their protest.
The protest calls attention to broader spiritual concerns that reach beyond the walls of the Pentagon. The faith-based group says that torture "violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions hold dear." In his veto of the "anti-torture" bill, President Bush was careful to point out that he wasn't vetoing in favor of a specific technique like waterboarding, but rather because of the need for secrecy surrounding our techniques. To see what he said,
. Bush said,
Section 327 of the bill would harm our national security by requiring any element of the Intelligence Community to use only the interrogation methods authorized in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations . . . My disagreement over section 327 is not over any particular interrogation technique; for instance, it is not over waterboarding, which is not part of the current CIA program. Rather, my concern is the need to maintain a separate CIA program that will shield from disclosure to al Qaeda and other terrorists the interrogation techniques they may face upon capture.
The "spiritually-rooted" ceremony drew attention to the broader reaching faith-based concerns over tactics of war. Does President Bush have an obligation to publicly oppose methods like waterboarding? Do you agree with his reasoning behind the veto? Can a coalition of the faithful inspire different thinking about the way we think about war?