Week of Dec. 16, 2009

Letter sparks rebuttal

Upon reading Gene Carton’s letter, “In defense of ‘enhanced’ questioning,'” which was published in the December 9, 2009 edition of the Jewish Light, I was filled with disgust that actually forced me to put down the paper. I could not bear to continue reading the repulsive comments of a fellow Jew and citizen of Olivette. But knowing that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing, I felt compelled to respond to Mr. Carton’s suggestion that the United States should and “must always” consider torture an acceptable tactic.


The thrust of Mr. Carton’s argument is that torture works and our enemies would not hesitate to torture us or treat us inhumanely. There is substantial evidence that confessions extracted through torture are unreliable because the confessor will say anything to stop the pain, including the provision of false information. But whether confessions extracted under torture are reliable or not is really of no moment because even if the use of torture could produce truthful information, its use is fundamentally inconsistent with our nation’s principles.

Apparently, Mr. Carton believes that it is somehow acceptable to abandon our principles and lower ourselves to use the tactics of our enemies. This argument basically mirrors what children sometimes say when challenged for their bad behavior: “he would have hit me if I had taken his toy so it was okay for me to hit him when he took mine.” As adults, we know that is a false justification and we remind our children that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” And as a nation, we know we are better than that — we don’t torture because we believe it is wrong to inflict excruciating pain on our fellow humans, regardless of whether they would do it to us. It is precisely this fact — that we are not cruel or wanton — that distinguishes us from our enemies.

–Sarah K. Molina


Sen.William Lacy Clay responds to letter

To my many friends in the St. Louis Jewish Community: I wanted to respond to some recent criticism regarding my vote to oppose H.Res 867. First and foremost, I have proudly stood with Israel for my entire public career and I have consistently supported efforts to strengthen Israel’s defense capabilities.

This year, I voted to increase annual U.S. support for Israel to over $2.7 billion. Within the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, I voted to support additional funding for the Arrow Missile, a joint project developed by St. Louis-based Boeing Integrated Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries that forms a vital part of Israel’s defense shield against possible missile attack.

I am also co-sponsoring H.R. 1327, the Iran Sanctions Act, which authorizes state and local governments to divest from companies investing in Iran’s oil and natural gas industries. As Iran continues to enrich uranium, in flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, we must stand together to prevent this repressive regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Regarding H.Res 867, which condemns the Goldstone Report, I am in no position to confirm or deny the evidence. But I could not support this resolution because it blocks further investigation into alleged human rights violations by both sides in this conflict.

I also took great exception to personal attacks launched to impugn the integrity of Judge Richard Goldstone, a distinguished South African jurist who was a champion in the struggle to end Apartheid and free former President and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela.

If we are to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors, it is absolutely critical that all violations of international law and human rights be fully investigated and those findings should not be suppressed.

— Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay,