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Motion to Go to Conference on H.R. 2863, Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006

Location: Washington, DC

MOTION TO GO TO CONFERENCE ON H.R. 2863, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - December 14, 2005)


Mr. MARKEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the motion offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Murtha).

Last month, 64 Members of this body joined with me in signing a letter urging the Appropriations Committee to say ``no'' to torture and ``yes'' to the McCain and Markey amendments as part of the Defense Appropriations Conference.

The McCain amendment, which is the subject of this motion, will prevent the use of inhuman interrogation practices.

The Markey amendment will prevent the use of funds in contravention of the UN Convention Against Torture.

We need to send a signal to the administration and the rest of the world that we will not dodge our treaty obligations to our international allies under the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

We do not support the use of torture as an interrogation method. Torture is morally wrong. Always. And without exception.

Not only is torture wrong, confessions obtained from torture are useless. A prisoner will say anything to stop their own suffering.

If we do not approve both the McCain and Markey amendments, we will set a precedent that torture is okay for all and open up our own troops to face torture at the hands of our enemies. Our troops already face enough risks. Shouldn't we protect them any way we can?

Furthermore, if we reduce ourselves to use the methods that we condemn terrorists for using, we lose our moral high ground. We have always been a beacon to the rest of the world on human rights and the rule of law. Should we change hundreds of years of history for this administration?

Reports of ``black sites'' where detainees in US custody are rendered without a trace come on top of reports of prisoner abuse and even death from the use of torture in U.S.-run prisons such as Abu Ghraib.

We criticize countries like Syria and Uzbekistan even as our CIA secretly sends detainees to be interrogated by the secret police of these very same human rights violators.

It seems obvious, that as a civilized nation, we should not fund torture, use torture as an interrogation tool, or ask other countries to torture for us, yet, for reasons beyond my imagination, we are still discussing this arcane, abhorrent practice today.

The adoption of the McCain and Markey amendments is an important step towards both restoring our nation's reputation for respecting human rights and preventing shameful abuses similar to those that occurred in Abu Ghraib.

We can not tolerate torture by any U.S. official. It is blood on all of our hands, on our countries good name. I support the McCain and Markey amendments and urge the conferees to do so as well.


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