Dec 12, 2005

We don't torture. No really. Okay, sometimes.

Back in November, during his Latin America tour, Dubya said "we do not torture."

It's his one moment (of many) that parallels his father's "read my lips, no new taxes" lie.

Bush the Elder eventually went back on his word and raised taxes.

His son, Not My President, condones the use of torture behind closed doors while vehemently denying it to our faces.

Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice takes us back to 9/11 - Dubya's crutch - to show how this current administration is rewriting the rules of human rights and redefining torture:

NYU's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice notes in its essential June 28 report, "Beyond Guantánamo: Transfers to Torture One Year After [the Supreme Court decision in] Rasul v. Bush," (on March 6 The New York Times reported):

"[E]xtraordinary renditions [by the CIA] have been carried out pursuant to a classified directive signed by President Bush a few days after September 11, 2001, that purports to grant the C.I.A. an 'unusually expansive authority' [to send terrorism suspects to countries known for torturing their prisoners]."

All Dubya has to do, according to Hentoff, is to sign an executive decree to put an end to the CIA's ambiguously defined boundaries regarding torture. The Center for Victims of Torture sent Bush a letter on June 26 asking him to do just this. The letter has pretty much been ignored.


Today, former White House advisor, Robert Blackwill, lets the cat out of the bag:

"Of course torture should not be widespread and of course there should be extraordinarily stringent top-down requirements in this respect. But never? ... I wouldn't say never," he told the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.
This is a guy who served as one of Dubya's top advisers on Iraq policy before he left to join a consultancy firm in November 2004. I doubt that his outlook on torture has differered in the past year, when he worked under Bush. And after Condoleeza Rice has been working that spin about whether the U.S. has created a loophole that allows for torture overseas or operates secret prisons in Europe, Blackwill's concession can't bode well for the U.S. As Arthur Silber so eloquently puts it:

Barbarism and sadism are now the official policy of our government. And the defenders of that policy still tell the world that we, and only we, can ensure that the values of civilization are transmitted to the future. They seek to destroy the unique value of human life, and they have rendered themselves incapable of understanding the nature of the destruction upon which they have embarked ... And if you support these policies of the administration to any extent at all, you are one of them.

Bush, because of his mishandling of the torture issue, and with his ever-so-righteous party of "moral values," has undermined our nation's moral standing with the rest of the world. No doubt we are seen as barbarians (and I'm not talking about the good kind) in the international arena. How we as a nation can rehabilitate this image once this clown is out of office will prove to be a tough challenge indeed.

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