Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bybee, Mormons and Torture, the debate continues

It has been weeks since we first began discussing Judge Bybee's role in the Bush administration's rough interrogation tactics but the debate still rages on. Ann Wright recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post; Two Mormons, Two Different Ethics on Torture. Wright says in part;

"In September 2003, another Mormon, a woman soldier U.S. Army Specialist Alyssa Peterson, said she refused to use the interrogation techniques Bybee had authorized on Iraqi prisoners. An Arabic linguist with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at Tal Afar base, Iraq, 27-year-old Peterson refused to take part in interrogations in the "cage" where Iraqis were stripped naked in front of female soldiers, mocked and their manhood degraded and burned with cigarettes, among other things. Three days later, on September 15, 2003, Peterson was found dead of a gunshot wound at Tal Afar base. The Army has classified her death as suicide."

"Jay Bybee, in thanks for his being the loyal soldier to the Bush administration's policies of torture, was nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he sits to this day in his lifetime appointment. Jay Bybee, an author of torture, reportedly has a placard in his home for his children "We don't hurt each other."

“Alyssa Peterson, for saying no to torture, is dead, perhaps by her own hand.”

“To help Alyssa Peterson rest in peace, I say we should demand accountability from our officials and impeach the torture judge, Jay Bybee.”

Should the fact that Bybee is Mormon be such a focal point? Are all Christians held to the same standard or is more expected from Mormons?


  1. But Bybee's religion isn't a focal point. When I do a Google News serach for Bybee and torture, I get hundreds of articles; when I add "Mormon," I get one. Wright uses the religious affiliation as a means of tying two contrasting stories together -- a typical, and often effective, rhetorical technique. But all she does is mention the religion of her subjects; she never makes it the "focus" of her piece.
    To do so might be an interesting story, one I haven't seen written.

  2. Torture has exactly one place in a civilized society -- in history books.

    As far as Alyssa Peterson's suicide, maybe I'm paranoid, but were these the same investigators that handled the Pat Tillman and LaVena Johnson cases?

    may all three of them rest in peace