Portside - Twelve fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates have written an open letter to President Barack Obama, urging the 2009 recipient of the award to finally close one of the "dark chapters" of recent U.S. history by first acknowledging, and then rejecting, the "flagrant use of torture and other violations of international law" that have been conducted in the name of "fighting terrorism" since 2001.
Written by the laureates as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee continue to press the White House and CIA on disclosing the findings of their investigation into some of the worst practices of inhumane treatment during the presidency of George W. Bush, the letter argues that the damage done by these acts has been not been isolated to the individual victims of U.S. torture.
"When a nation’s leaders condone and even order torture, that nation has lost its way," the letter states. "One need only look to the regimes where torture became a systematic practice – from Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany to the French in Algeria, South Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge and others – to see the ultimate fate of a regime so divorced from their own humanity."
The laureates continue, "As torture continues to haunt the waking hours of its victims long after the conflict has passed, so it will continue to haunt its perpetrators."