Friday, September 15, 2006

Common Article 3

The Great Rebuff

Well, I must say I'm delighted--and a wee bit surprised--to hear that the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 15-9 against your proposed legislation to allow the CIA to... well, not to make too fine a point of it, to torture terrorist suspects in order to obtain information from them--in your words, Bush, "to prevent future attacks." Good for Senators McCain, Warner, and Graham, the three mutineers aboard your own ship, Bush. It must have been hard for them to make their stand against the wall of rhetorical guff about "protecting the American people" from the evil doers.

And good to hear from former Secretary Colin Powell at last, who emerged from his respectful silence, finally, swinging. That letter of his to John McCain must have come as a shock. This man has been the best of "good soldiers" since the days of his all too loyal service in your administration, most notably that notorious United Nations speech, when he apparently bought into the deceptions that your people fed him and passed them on to the world at large to justify your war. There must have been millions of good people out there who, like myself--and to my eventual shame--were misled by a man in whose integrity we believed. It's to your shame, though, Bush, that his integrity was so thoroughly abused. The man must be smarting from the memory of that speech to this day, and likely will be smarting from it for the rest of his life.

I have one point of disagreement, however, in the arguments offered by McCain. For him--at least according to the reports I've read and heard--it's about not doing unto others for fear that others will do the same unto us. The golden rule. It's about putting our own military at risk in future hypothetical situations. This might be a good practical argument in this case, but it fails to get to the heart of the matter. Colin Powell had it right, in my view, when he wrote that your proposal to redefine the Geneva Conventions to suit your current purposes would encourage the rest of the world to “doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.”

Even that seems to bit too pragmatic for this old idealist, Bush. If we're only abstaining from inhumane behavior in order to gain the support of others--or kow-tow to their judgments--we'll be in real danger of becoming that which we despise. How about abstaining from torture simply because it's the right thing to do? Simply because the very thought of torture is alien to everything we stand for?

(Just caught a piece of your press conference, Bush, still in progress. It seems that your argument boils down to your belief that the rules of the Geneva Convention are so vague that they make our "professionals" vulnerable to indictment as war criminals. We must change the rules in order to give them the interrogation "tools" they need in order to protect us from further terrorist attacks. We talked about this only yesterday, Bush: if the law doesn't approve of the behavior you propose, you want to change the law, not the behavior. That's a bit like the drunk driver wanting to change the law to permit drunk driving.

Point number two: there is, to say the least, wide disagreement as to whether torture--let's keep calling it by its name--is effective. Most people, critics say, will invent any lie to please their torturer and stop the pain. You ask us to trust you when you tell us how effective your program has been in preventing terrorist attacks. But you have betrayed our trust on so many occasions in the past that your assertions of this kind no longer carry weight.)

I'm hoping, Bush, that what we're seeing now is only the beginning of a much larger revolt against your failing strategies and tactics on all fronts. I'm hoping that our representatives will also stand up against your illegal wiretapping program, and against your conduct of this "war on terrorism." It's high time.

Back to your new conference now, Bush. I hear you babbling about oil... about Iraq... about Bin Laden... More tomorrow.

2 comments:

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Can one imagine if we had no checks and balances? Bush is already trying to act like a two bit King or Dictator. Imagine if he had no checks and balances.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

IAEA: US report on Iran 'outrageous'

More scare tactics from USA. Like Iran or Iraq was ever dangerous to USA. Pathetic. We all know who they are dangerous to, a racist little country that not one drop of American blood should be shed to defend or support.

We have certain morals in America that we hold dear and recently this entails NO discrimination based on race or religion. Integrity please. Lies, lies, lies all for one horrible abomination of an ideology that controls my/our foreign policy.

Make 5 million friends and 1 billion enemies because of lies and racism.