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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006

Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (Senate - October 05, 2005)


Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I support the amendment offered by the senior Senator from Arizona. I commend Senator McCain for his leadership on this important issue. This amendment prohibits the cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of persons under custody or control of the U.S. Government. In other words, it outlaws the torture of prisoners by agents of the United States, regardless of their geographic location.

I am, and always have been, opposed to the use of torture. I believe that our brave men and women serving in the Armed Forces share this view. Now more than ever, we must make it absolutely clear to our allies and our enemies that the United States does not and will not condone this practice. This amendment does that in no uncertain terms. It acknowledges and confirms existing obligations under our own Constitution and the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

Let me be clear on another point. I am committed to fighting terrorism and protecting our citizens and troops at home and abroad. I have the utmost respect, gratitude and admiration for our troops who are fighting on the frontlines of the War on Terror, and I have no intention of undermining the important job that they do.

But the use of torture does not enhance our national security. In fact, senior U.S. military officers have argued that practicing torture can place U.S. troops in grave danger--especially if they are taken prisoner. In working to keep our Nation and troops safe, we must not lose sight of this critical truth.

The United States should set an example for the international community. Senator McCain's amendment reaffirms a fundamental value of the American people--that torture is morally reprehensible and has no place in this world. I am proud to support this affirmation, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

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