Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Truth About Torture: Part Five

This is the next-to-last post in the series of posts debunking the talking points made by President Bush in Wednesday’s speech, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Click on the video to watch it, and when you’re done let’s discuss some of President Bush’s talking points.

"But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical and having a CIA program for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information."

This sounds like a noble reason to explain the existence of the CIA program, but it doesn’t excuse the mounting evidence that U.S. personnel used questionable, if not illegal, methods to obtain information from detainees.

"Some ask why we're you're acknowledging this program now."

According to my calendar, Monday is the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and there’s just over eight weeks left before the midterm elections. Just a coincidence, right?

"There are two reasons why I'm making these limited disclosures today. First, we have largely completed our questioning of the men, and to start the process for bringing them to trial we must bring them into the open. Second, the Supreme Court's recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions and has put in question the future of the CIA program."

First, if the Bush administration was serious about bringing these men to trial it would’ve happened on American soil already. They had no problem giving Zacarias Moussaoui a fair trial for his role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Why not the detainees at Gitmo?

Second, let’s discuss the Supreme Court decision and the Bush administration’s reaction. The Supreme Court ruled that the military commissions originally proposed by the Bush administration were under the jurisdiction of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Instead of complying with that order, the Bush administration is trying to find ways to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling, get their military commissions and provide U.S. personnel protections against the War Crimes Act of 1996. That’s all that this maneuver by the Bush administration is.

I almost forgot to ask: How many terrorists did we capture from obtaining information through the CIA program? How many terrorist plots did we stop?

"In its ruling on military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as Common Article 3 applies to our war with al-Qaeda."

Actually, it applies to our detainment of suspected terrorists, with emphasis on suspected since none of them have been charged with a crime in nearly five years of internment.

"This article includes provisions that prohibit outrages upon personal dignity and humiliating and degrading treatment. The problem is that these and other provisions of Common Article 3 are vague and undefined, and each can be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign judges."

The real problem for the Bush administration is that other countries that signed the agreement in 1949 don’t have the same problem. The last thing the United States needs is for Congress to determine what constitutes torture because whatever coercion methods not listed in an updated War Crimes Act can and will be used by other countries against our troops if captured and detained.

Do you really want to support your troops like that? I didn’t think so. Please contact your elected officials and tell them not to approve President Bush’s legislation on military commissions because they should not have to shoulder the burden of determining what is torture. It is up to the Bush administration to follow the rule of law, even if it’s an international law.

"And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved and capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act, simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way. This is unacceptable."

I would not call torture a professional way of obtaining information. That is unacceptable, and so is the fact that President Bush is whining about the War Crimes Act, especially since it’s been the law for a decade. Maybe U.S. personnel and their supervisors should have thought of that before interrogation methods were approved.

To be continued...

Technorati tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

List all torture incidents | List deaths | List by technique | List by location
Public support | Government policy | Accountability & cover-ups | Rendition | FoIA docs | NGO reports & legal actn
Consequences & blowback | The New Iraq & other broken promises | The media | The noble few