Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Attorney General / Secretary of Torture

I could write 1000 posts about Alberto Gonzales and it wouldn't be enough. The Washington Post has a great editorial today. A Degrading Policy:

Alberto R. Gonzales was vague, unresponsive and misleading in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Bush administration's detention of foreign prisoners. In his written answers to questions from the committee, prepared in anticipation of today's vote on his nomination as attorney general, Mr. Gonzales was clearer -- disturbingly so, as it turns out. According to President Bush's closest legal adviser, this administration continues to assert its right to indefinitely hold foreigners in secret locations without any legal process; to deny them access to the International Red Cross; to transport them to countries where torture is practiced; and to subject them to treatment that is "cruel, inhumane or degrading," even though such abuse is banned by an international treaty that the United States has ratified. In effect, Mr. Gonzales has confirmed that the Bush administration is violating human rights as a matter of policy.

The constitutional amendments, he told the committee, technically do not apply to foreigners held abroad; therefore, in the administration's view the torture treaty does not bind intelligence interrogators operating on foreign soil. "The Department of Justice has concluded," he wrote, that "there is no legal prohibition under the Convention Against Torture on cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with respect to aliens overseas."

He was asked if there were any legal prohibition against U.S. personnel using simulated drowning and mock executions as well as sleep deprivation, dogs to inspire fear, hooding, forced nudity, the forced injection of mood-altering drugs and the threat of sending a detainee to another country for torture, among other abuses. He answered: "Some might . . . be permissible in certain circumstances."

In an attempt to close the loophole, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) sought to attach an amendment to the intelligence reform legislation last fall specifying that "no prisoner shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States." The Senate adopted the provision unanimously. Later, however, it was stripped from the bill at the request of the White House. In his written testimony, Mr. Gonzales affirmed that the provision would have "provided legal protections to foreign prisoners to which they are not now entitled." Senators who supported the amendment consequently face a critical question: If they vote to confirm Mr. Gonzales as the government's chief legal authority, will they not be endorsing the systematic use of "cruel, inhumane and degrading" practices by the United States?

What is wrong with these people? They're running around finding loopholes by way of questionable interpretations of the law to defend the United States' practice of TORTURE. That's torture, people. And not the cute kind like when you say, "That Titanic movie was three hours of pure torture." No, no - the bad kind like in Marathon Man where Laurence Olivier is drilling holes in Dustin Hoffman's teeth. You know? How can these supposed "men" sleep comfortably at night knowing that they're responsible for torturing people? Where is their humanity? Furthermore, how can they, with a straight face, claim that the Abu Ghraib situation was caused by a few "bad apples?" It's right there in their words! They think torture is ok.

Is it, my fellow Americans? Do we live in a country where we look the other way, while the men we elected to govern in our name are torturing people? Does this fit the Founding Fathers' vision of America?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All men, Mr. Gonzales. Not just all American men.

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