Bush and Torture– again

I hate to have to come back to the topic of our president endorsing torture, but a great Op-Ed yesterday in the Post deserves some mention.  A couple of former conservative Reagain appointees make a vigorous argument against Bush's latest torture policy (and public misdirection) on the matter.  The authors are no weak-kneed liberals, but rather they start out by admitting that they actually have very little respect for civil liberties:

One of us was appointed commandant of the Marine Corps by President Ronald Reagan; the other served as a lawyer in the Reagan White House and has vigorously defended the constitutionality of warrantless National Security Agency wiretaps, presidential signing statements and many other controversial aspects of the war on terrorism.

Despite believing in some of these more odious practices of the Bush administration, Bush's torture policy goes too far for even these men:

But we cannot in good conscience defend a decision that we believe has
compromised our national honor and that may well promote the commission
of war crimes by Americans and place at risk the welfare of captured American military forces for generations to come…

In other words, as long as the intent of the abuse is to gather
intelligence or to prevent future attacks, and the abuse is not “done
for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual” — even if
that is an inevitable consequence — the president has given the CIA
carte blanche to engage in “willful and outrageous acts of personal

It is firmly established in international law that
treaties are to be interpreted in “good faith” in accordance with the
ordinary meaning of their words and in light of their purpose. It is
clear to us that the language in the executive order cannot even
arguably be reconciled with America's clear duty under Common Article 3
to treat all detainees humanely and to avoid any acts of violence
against their person.

I'm glad the President has no problem with “willful and outrageous acts of personal
abuse” so long as he thinks it is for a good cause.  It does hearten me to know he loves Jesus so much.  There's got to be something supporting torture for a good cause in the Sermon on the Mount– right?

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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