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I realize that many Americans, given the scope of the economic crisis and the ambitions of the new administration, would rather look forward than revisit the past. The business of torture, however, is too unspeakable to be left unfinished.

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President Bush repeatedly claimed that the United States, under his leadership, did not torture, but a confidential report prepared by the International Committee of the Red Cross found otherwise. The ICRC has a unique global role in monitoring the treatment of prisoners.

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A new report from the Red Cross says living conditions in Iraq, from healthcare to general safety, continue to worsen. One woman interviewed by the ICRC said it would be helpful if someone removed the bodies piling up in front of her house so her children wouldn't have to look at them on the way to school.

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