Puritans, Pilgrims, Quakers, Mennonites, Hutterites, Catholics, Jews, Russians, Germans, Irish'.they all left the Old World to come to the new to escape persecution. In some cases, that included violent persecution and torture.
In November 1776, the Continental army was defeated at the Battle of New York by the British. Viewing the aftermath through a spyglass, General George Washington watched as several of his captured soldiers were not given "Quarter" and were beaten and slaughtered by the British and Hessian mercenary troops.
It is thought that the British officers understood the 18th century concept of "Quarter" to apply to regular army troops of sovereign nations and not to guerrilla rebels fighting for an "illegitimate" rogue government.
In December 1776, Washington made his famous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas Eve and defeated the Hessian troops at Trenton, New Jersey--a victory that became an American legend.
After the victory when the American troops were clamoring for revenge upon the captured Hessians, Washington ordered that the captured troops be treated with kindness and civility and fairness and forbade the abuse or torture of those prisoners. (Source: "Washington's Crossing" by David Hackett Fischer)
Now Congress is prepared to pass a "Torture Bill" that will allow our government and military the right to torture guerrillas and insurgents defined as enemy combatants, to indefinitely detain them without charges, conduct secret tribunals, and not allow the accused to fully and fairly confront the evidence and witnesses against them.
Ever since reason conquered darkness and the Founding Fathers issued the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the foundation of the United States has been the Rule of Law.
Sadly, passage of the Torture Bill in Congress will give another despot the right to torture and the right to hold prisoners without charges and without the ability to fully confront their accusers and hear all the evidence against them. Our nation is turning its back on the freedom and liberty we forswear to hold so dear from sea to shining sea.
I can't sit idly by and do nothing. If my sons are called to fight in Iran or Syria or Tajikistan in the near future by these same lawmakers and their despot leader, I hope they will be treated humanely. That they will be treated in ways the United States of America once championed.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.