In our current socio-political climate, we're dealing with difficult times. Despite the United States' longstanding bipartisan opposition to torture and strengthening of the U.S. torture ban, recent rhetoric and public opinion have demonstrated a disturbing rise in the tolerance and even support of the use of torture. Polls have shown an alarming fact: over half of Americans feel torture is justified in cases of suspected terrorism (Pew Research Center). Television shows and movies glorify the practice of torture as if it were an effective practice for gathering information.
This is unacceptable. The purpose of torture is often less about interrogation or saving lives than it is about intimidation, control, breaking an individual's will, instilling fear and silencing dissent. CVT is launching its Call to Reject Torture campaign, including a declaration with signatures from more than 100 military members, public officials and faith leaders, including Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Former Secretaries of Defense William S. Cohen and Chuck Hagel. It's part of our moral obligation never to accept the use of torture--unequivocally and without exception. We declare that:
• Torture violates the inherent dignity of human beings • Torture undermines respect for the rule of law, domestically and internationally• Torture creates barriers to military and intelligence cooperation with allies• Torture damages U.S. reputation in the world and is not in the interest of our national security
The highly credible, well respected and influential signatories of this declaration are diverse in many of their political views but all agree that the United States should never use torture again. Together, we're sending a clear message to fellow Americans that torture is against our values; it has and will always be a human rights violation; and it should never be part of our national security agenda.
The facts are simple: torture is illegal, immoral, ineffective and makes America less safe.
We know this because for more than 30 years, CVT has been extending rehabilitative care to survivors of torture. We have spoken out about this horrific practice by continuing to educate the public on the truths about torture, working on policy advocacy in Washington D.C. to end torture, and to remind the public about the realities and physical and psychological impact of torture on the thousands of survivors that we see every day in our healing work.
Today, we stand at a critical crossroads as a society. I ask you to not be silent in your opposition to torture. Please join me: reject torture and ask your family, friends and colleagues to do the same. You can take action by engaging with us on social media, signing our letter and downloading our useful CVT ally toolkit. Learn more at www.cvt.org/rejecttorture.