Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Legalizing Abu-Ghraib

This is the fine hand and blunt fist of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. The Army Field Manual is being rewritten to permit torture using "humiliating and degrading treatment." No more canards that what Lyndie England and Charles Graner did to prisoners in Abu-Ghraib were aberrations. No more claims that we would never permit such things ... nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

There are a few, minor, problems with this rewrite mostly being that it is patently illegal.

The United States ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1994.
torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.
This applies to any prisoner held for any reason. The right-wing meme that you can do anything you want to unlawful combatants falls beneath this treaty. The Geneva Convention, which specifically deals with prisoners of war, prohibits, "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." And then to reinforce the law, last year's McCain Amendment says:
No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
By law and by treaty humilating treatment of prisoners is torture and is illegal. The Bush Administration is trying to play an Alice In Wonderland game, pretending the clear language of the law doesn't mean what it says.

Interesting Links: Conservative Andrew Sullivan calls the United States a "rogue nation", Protein Wisdom thinks it's just hunky-dory, Philadelphia Freedom Watch, Blogotitlan, Nether World, First Draft, Politics Made Simple, Blognonymous

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Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the link and for the excellent depth with which you treated the subject.

I wish I could remember the exact wording the statement on signin that was issued with the Defense Appropriations bill. My recollection was that it was fairly general, not addressing the McCain Amendment specifically but rather just trotting the old "limitations on presidential power" rubric.

PoliShifter said...

What pisses me off is that we have soldiers going to jail for Abu Ghraib, meanwhile Bush makes signing statements saying it's ok for him to torture.

If it's ok for the President to do it, then why are we putting soldiers in jail?

Either Bush should go to jail or those soldiers should go free.

The saddest thing of all is that America is now known for its torturing, gulags, and policy of extraordinary rendition.

Who would have thought that the dream once known as America would end in oligarchy totalitarianistic fascism that tortured people and waged pre-emptive war?

Surely after defeating Germany in WW2 Americans NEVER thought it would happen here...