Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length. Letters forwarded from other sources or those involving personal, business or legal disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.
I was distressed to see the Sunday editorial page of The Times defaced by writers excusing the torture of prisoners by U.S. officials. It is a measure of the depth to which the Bush administration degraded our country that we are even having a debate on torture. The evidence is clear that torture does not work, at least for the purpose of protecting people.
Intelligence officials have testified that the information acquired is not reliable, while victims have attested that they would say anything their captors wanted to hear, true or not, to make it stop. The ticking time bomb scenario so popular with credulous TV viewers is a fallacy; if the prisoner is innocent, he cannot give the location of a bomb, and if he is guilty, he knows exactly how much false information he has to give to hold out long enough for it to explode.
The argument that waterboarding and other barbaric practices are not torture has only been made, as far as I have seen, by those who have (thankfully) never been subjected to them. Most decent intelligence interrogators attest that the same information can be obtained, nearly as quickly, without resorting to torture.
The facts of what was done under Bush and Cheney negate these arguments anyway. If there was a ticking time bomb, how did it help to waterboard a prisoner 183 times during the course of a month? It has been reported that law enforcement wasted thousands of hours following up false leads from prisoners who likely were making up anything to get relief. The latest reports have indicated that Cheney's true goal was to get prisoners to give statements that Iraq had WMDs and al-Qaida connections in order to justify the invasion. We now know those statements were lies.
Ultimately any arguments about the effectiveness of torture are trumped by the simple fact that torture is morally and legally wrong. Ronald Reagan knew this when he signed an international treaty against the practice. Torture degrades the perpetrator as much as the victim, and our use of it under Bush and Cheney has scarred the moral standing that took the United States years to build around the world. The only way to prove that we are better than that is to investigate and prosecute those responsible.
Level Grove School handled child's allergies with care
I want to thank the Level Grove Preschool in Cornelia for taking such wonderful care of my little girl, who has severe food allergies. I could not find a facility from Athens to Cornelia that would do as the doctor requested, but this preschool did just that and more. She is socially more aware and her spirituality has grown immensely.
I wanted to share this with other parents whose children have severe allergies to not give up. I know of the judgment from others who don't understand why you are wiping your children's hands so much and constantly watching what they are touching. But this preschool did a fantastic job with her and is currently starting their first year with kindergarten. I am very excited about it as I feel she will be safe.
Views of cosmos are relative
I would like to get thank Brandon Givens and David Long for taking the time to write to The Times on May 13, but I assume that they are reasoning from a view of a finite cosmos, i.e., a cosmos without a beginning or end. Quantum mechanics basically says that no person can make an absolute statement or there is no such thing as absolutism.
Maybe if they ever get that Large Hadron Collider started back up, it will change our view of the time, matter, energy, etc., and all the physics books will have to be updated.
Jimmy David Haynie