Letters to the Editor

'No longer respected'

Robyn Blumner of the St. Petersburg Times reminds us in "Torture Nation: New law's an abomination" [Oct. 16], that the newly passed Military Commissions Act permits the suspension of habeas corpus for noncitizens. It also allows the president to determine what "torture" is.

Our country has become quite experienced with torture, here and abroad. Detainees in Guantánamo or other prisons for years are barred from challenging their treatment in court.

We believe we are the land of liberty. We do not think of our country legalizing torture and denial of due process. Our Constitution and the Geneva Conventions were the fruits of generations of effort to establish human rights, and to elevate humanity through the rule of law.

Contrary to the unilateral powers claimed by the president, we need a Congress which upholds the legal principles that protect liberty and once made us a leader among nations. Today, the U.S. is feared but no longer respected.

Polly N. Victor