Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cutting Through The Crap

Amidst the wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and the rumors of war (Iran), the Emperor continues to push for a free pass for the CIA to torture "detainees." Critics of the regime's policies are branded as traitors who are more interested in protecting terrorists than protecting Americans (a boehn-headed charge if there ever was one), so it is becoming increasingly dangerous to criticise this blatant breach of basic human rights. Even the most archly conservative media outlets are finding it difficult to defend torture, but their editorial comments are clouded as they look for nuanced reasons to support a "compromise" between the administration and the US Senators who are balking (so far) at Bush's demand that a bill be passed that completely bypasses the Geneva Conventions.

That is why it was so refreshing to read the editorial in today's Star Tribune.

On the question of what interrogation methods should be allowed against enemies who would employ terrorism, the basic principle at issue can become temporarily hazy. So let's cut to its core: The president of the United States is arguing that this nation cannot afford the humane treatment of detainees required by the Geneva Conventions. That is a repugnant notion, unworthy of this great nation.

The Bush administration claims we face a grave threat to our existence from Al-Qaida and others who use the tactics of terrorism. That, President Bush argues, is why the Geneva Conventions cannot be honored, why Congress must pass legislation allowing their circumvention. He's wrong.

...To our knowledge, over the ensuing half-century of mortal nuclear danger, no president ever expressed a worry that the Geneva Conventions posed a risk to the survival of the United States. Nor did a president claim, as Bush did until hauled up short by the Supreme Court, the executive authority to waive the conventions' requirements without consulting Congress.

Two decades ago -- and probably two decades hence -- Bush's desire to sweep aside the conventions would have been seen almost universally as odious and indefensible. Today, thankfully, four courageous Senate Republicans see it that way and are defying Bush's desire to sweep them aside. The pity is that it's only four.
[Emphasis added]

No arguments as to the efficacy or non-efficacy of torture as an interrogation method. No fluff as to hypotheticals ("If you knew that torturing a terrorist would get information that could stop a nuclear attack on Des Moines..."). No convoluted arguments as to the effect such treatment would have on American prisoners in the future. Just one simple, undeniable fact:

Torture is wrong.


Anonymous Nora said...

It's appalling that we even have to say that. I thought all civilized people already knew that, took it for granted as we take for granted that the earth orbits the sun and not the other way around.

There is no compromise on this issue. There can be no compromise on this issue. Torture is morally reprehensible, and that is true no matter who's doing the torture and no matter what the supposed benefits to the torturer are, no matter how "bad" the person being tortured is assumed to be.

At least one newspaper gets it.

6:20 AM  

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