The definition is in the laws and the details
I'm against torture. I'm also against being lectured by Prof. Mark Danner over nearly 1 1/2 full pages on what constitutes torture ("This is torture," March 22). We are governed by laws that define torture.
According to a 2002 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case, an interrogation practice must cause "intense, lasting and heinous agony" to be torture. Mental interrogation practices, like waterboarding, become torture when they result in prolonged, severe mental pain.
In the article, one of the terrorists said he was taken to a "session" of waterboarding. A session doesn't appear to be prolonged. The professor knows that the case against torture is stronger when it focuses on the detainee. Fair enough. I did notice the three stories were strikingly similar in terms of detail and syntax.
Danner nonchalantly said, "They almost certainly have blood on their hands." Quite the euphemism. They were top Al-Qaida terrorists who orchestrated killing 2,752 Americans on 9/11 and killing hundreds at American embassies and the Navy destroyer Cole. Prof. Danner, they had an ocean of American blood on their hands.
DAVE AASEN, BROOKLYN PARK
I am deeply ashamed that torture was done in my name and with my tax dollars. Former military and intelligence officers have said that torture doesn't work. After they've been tortured, people tell you what they think you want to hear, not the truth. It also endangers our overseas troops.
If the United States is not following international law, why should other countries? The Bush administration officials who approved torture should be tried for war crimes.
TERRY BURKE, ST. LOUIS PARK
IF IT'S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Reckless lenders? Irresponsible borrowers
I am tired of hearing about people who get caught up in the schemes of shifty businesses. Alan Gilyard expected to make a mighty profit from his dealings with Lakeland Construction Finance LLC (front page, March 22). Shouldn't he have questioned Lakeland's practices?
Gilyard turned a blind eye because he wanted to earn fast cash, but now he is paying for his greed like many Americans who chose money over ethics.
ALLISON SIROVY, MONTICELLO, MINN.
MARRIAGE LICENSE IN HAND?
Get busy and procreate
A March 25 letter writer proposes that society has no obligation to recognize same-sex marriages because they "do nothing within themselves to promote society's continuation." I presume he is referring to the fact that gay couples cannot procreate.
This is an interesting point, and one I would fully support if the writer would support the following legislation: All heterosexual couples are required to produce at least one genetic offspring within the first two years of their marriage. If they do not, their civil marriage license is revoked until a child is born.
Do we have a deal?
PETER CARLSON, MINNEAPOLIS
WALLS AND SANDBAGS
Lost wetlands show nature had a better idea
The March 22 article discussing another round of flooding along the Red River finally touched on the heart of the problem. The increase in flooding mirroring the rise in field drainage is no coincidence. Indeed, the extensive farm drainage tile and ditch systems opened the flood gates, literally and figuratively.
Instead of calls for volunteers to sandbag every year, maybe other cities along the Red should follow Grand Forks' lead and cede the most flood-prone areas back to the river, the way nature intended. Or better yet, restore the valuable wetlands that once absorbed -- and filtered -- these massive amounts of water.
JOHN G. MORGAN, BURNSVILLE
Trial trudges on, and she does work of two
No matter what political party you belong to, one has to salute Sen. Amy Klobuchar and her office for doing the work of two senators. My son was an intern for the Senate a few years ago and I am aware of the large volume of telephone calls, e-mails and personal visits that occur daily. We should be supportive of Klobuchar during this time.
BARBARA NEVIN, CHANHASSEN
The melting pot at work
Welcome home to a misled Somali man
One of the misled Somali young men has seen the path to come home to his community, country and people (front page, March 22). Lest we forget, a short decade ago Roman Catholic clergy and lay people were accused of actively helping the IRA in Ireland, and Protestant Americans the other side. Were these Christians any less misleading to their youth?
The good news is that one young Minnesotan is again in the protective arms of his family. Hopefully he can help with the efforts to stop the recruiting and return to a productive American life. Maybe he will one day be the leader of the religious group that misled him and help to teach future youth from his misadventure.
We can all learn from this and remember the tolerance that makes us Americans and America great!
DAVID NELSON, COON RAPIDS