Friday, July 28, 2006

Apple Pie and Torture

"It's as American as apple pie."


Do good Americans support torture?

James Bovard notes that "the Bush administration is desperately scrambling to get Congress to pass a law to retroactively legalize torture."

"Retroactively legalize" means to legalize torture that the U.S. has already committed.

Bovard notes that "Congress effectively incorporated the Geneva Convention on treating detainees into the U.S. statute book [through] the War Crimes Act of 1996." "The Supreme Court’s decision last month declaring that the Bush order on enemy combatants was illegal means that the Bush team also did not have the right to torture detainees."

Bovard quotes a Washington Post article which says,
The law initially criminalized grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions but was amended without a hearing the following year to include violations of Common Article 3, the minimum standard requiring that all detainees be treated “humanely.” The article bars murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degradingtreatment.” It applies to any abuse involving U.S. military personnel or “nationals.”
It is astonishing that many supporters of "the War on Terrah" -- many claiming to be Christians -- believe the Geneva Convention should not apply to U.S. government treatment of prisoners. It is equally astonishing that they will go to the polls in November and vote for those who will be seen by history to be war criminals.

Bovard says, "Attorney General Gonzales is sweating that even top government officials (like himself) could face charges if the law is vigorously enforced. However, since it would be up to the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute, he probably has little to fear."

Congress should not amend the law to exclude high-ranking government officials, despite Bush Administration desires to be excused from minimal standards of human decency, to say nothing of the higher law of Christ.

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