Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States and abroad:
Sacramento, Calif., April 17, The Sacramento Bee on a report examining U.S. interrogation techniques after the 9/11 terrorist attacks:
As a country, we have not yet accepted that in the understandable fear and anger after 9/11, suspected terrorists were tortured. An independent review released Tuesday can be an important step to reach that truth — and to make sure it never happens again.
“It is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture,” concludes the report issued by the bipartisan Constitution Project. “As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture.”
The 577-page study confirms previously reported abuses by military and intelligence personnel at detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan, secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It also validates a report that one or more Libyan militants were waterboarded by the CIA, which has long maintained that only three al-Qaida prisoners were subjected to the near-drownings.
The CIA also slammed detainees into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions and kept them awake for days. The report cites dozens of cases in which similar treatment was prosecuted in the United States or denounced as torture by the State Department when done by other countries. The report concludes that there’s “no persuasive evidence” that the brutal interrogations yielded any valuable intelligence that could not have been obtained by other means. …
We … know that there will be more acts of terror against Americans. And we should know that the torture perpetrated after 9/11 has made those future attacks more likely, not less. The inhumane treatment almost certainly endangered our own soldiers, violated international law, damaged America’s moral standing and only bred more militants. ...
Jerusalem, April 15, The Jerusalem Post on the upcoming 65th anniversary of the May 1948 founding of Israel:
Celebrating the 65th anniversary of Israel, one cannot help but be struck by the incongruity of conflating an ancient people with a birthday befitting a baby boomer.
Indeed, the old and new coexist side by side in the Jewish state, perhaps like no other country in the world. Unlike in modern Greece, for example, citizens of Israel converse in their ancient tongue, a language that would still be intelligible to the Hebrew prophets who lived here in the biblical era.
Archaeological sites that are an integral part of our landscape are discovered regularly, giving constant, tangible evidence of the Jewish people’s ancient ties to this particular strip of land. At the same time, Israel is an eminently modern country, overrepresented in the number of patents it produces per capita, in the number of Ph.D.s, published scientific papers, companies listed on Nasdaq and startups per capita. ...
Israel at 65 remains a country of paradoxes and contradictions that strives to fuse new and old, particularism and universality, vitality and vulnerability. Israel at 65 has not resolved the Jewish predicament and has even created a set of new challenges. But its accomplishments are mind-boggling considering they were achieved while fighting conventional and nonconventional wars, absorbing a huge immigrant population and providing basic democratic rights to every citizen. ... Not bad for a country the age of the average baby boomer.