Wednesday, November 02, 2005



Congressional candidate Mary Beth Harrell, the wife of a retired military officer and mother of two active-duty soldiers in the war on terrorism, today called on her opponent to publicly state where he stands on a controversial bid in the U.S. House to block a ban on state-sanctioned torture or explain why voters don't deserve to know.

"Which side are you on, Mr. Carter?" Harrell asked, noting that incumbent John Carter has refused repeated requests to reveal how he plans to vote on the measure, which would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in the custody of the U.S. military.

Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner-of-war, passed the amendment banning U.S.-sponsored torture as part of the huge defense authorization bill, currently pending in the U.S. House. A group of partisans led by indicted former Majority Leader Tom DeLay is threatening to strip the McCain amendment from the House version of the bill.

Harrell has asked Carter to support the ban on the grounds that torture is both morally reprehensible and tactically ineffective.

"Mainstream experts know that torture doesn't work," Harrell said. "And mainstream Texans know that torture is wrong. We will never win the war against terrorists by becoming more like them while exposing our own captured troops to equal treatment or worse."

One of Harrell's own son is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq next month.

Harrell has publicly called on Carter to take a stand against efforts to strip the torture ban from the defense bill. She has also sent him a written request. Carter has not responded.

A successful attorney practicing exclusively in criminal law, Harrell said her get-tough record in the courtroom and additional work on behalf of taxpayers as a city prosecutor in Nolanville and interim prosecutor in Temple reflect the mainstream values of Central Texas families and small businesses.

In addition to her legal work, Harrell operates the non-profit St. Francis Animal Sanctuary with her husband, a reserve police officer and Vice-Chair of the Bell County Bail Bond Board. The Harrells recently opened a second shelter, Assisi Animal Refuge, and continue to work in cooperation with the Killeen Chamber of Commerce on a wide range of humane education programs in the area.


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