Monday, November 07, 2005

Bush: "We do not torture"

Yes, he says it here. (Define "We".) But then what was going on at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib? What may still be going on there and/or in other U.S.-run detention facilities around the world. THE ONES WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT?

Bush: "We're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible, more possible, to do our job. There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet we will aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law."

What law? The law as interpreted by Atty. Gen. (and Bush crony) Gonzales?

More, why is Cheney trying to block Senator McCain's efforts to push a torture ban through Congress?

I agree with Senator Levin: "We need a 9/11-type commission to restore credibility to this nation."

Otherwise, how can America possibly stand up for, and attempt to spread, its ideas of liberty, democracy, and equality under the law? What would the Founders say about what this administration has done, about what it has condoned, about what it has done to America's moral core and reputation abroad?

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My latest post on this subject:

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Around the blogosphere:

Steve Clemons asks if Bush's claim is at all credible: "Not when your Vice President is seeking to exempt important organs of the U.S. government from the McCain provision that would ban any agent of U.S. interests from subjecting detainees under its control to "torture or inhuman treatment."

Kevin Drum: "Fine. Then shut down the black sites, tell Dick Cheney to stop lobbying against the McCain amendment, and allow the Red Cross unfettered access to prisoners in our custody. After all, if the events of the past four years had happened in any other country in the world — the abuse, the memos, the photos, the relentless opposition to independent inspections — isn't that the least it would take for any of us to believe it when that country's head of state declared 'We do not torture'? It's not going to be easy for the United States to regain its credibility as a country dedicated to combatting barbarism and supporting human rights. That's all the more reason we should start now."

Andrew Sullivan: "If that's the case, why threaten to veto a law that would simply codify what Bush alleges is already the current policy? If 'we do not torture,' how to account for the hundreds and hundreds of cases of abuse and torture by U.S. troops, documented by the government itself? If 'we do not torture,' why the memos that expanded exponentially the lee-way given to the military to abuse detainees in order to get intelligence? The president's only defense against being a liar is that he is defining 'torture' in such a way that no other reasonable person on the planet, apart from Bush's own torture apologists (and they are now down to one who will say so publicly), would agree."

Let me quote the rest of his powerful post: "The press must now ask the president: does he regard the repeated, forcible near-drowning of detainees to be torture? Does he believe that tying naked detainees up and leaving them outside all night to die of hypothermia is 'torture'? Does he believe that beating the legs of a detainee until they are pulp and he dies is torture? Does he believe that beating detainees till they die is torture? Does he believe that using someone's religious faith against them in interrogations is 'cruel, inhumane and degrading' treatment and thereby illegal? What is his definition of torture?"

Mr. President? Do you have answers to these questions, responses to these suggestions. They come from three of the best.

See also Julie Saltman, Shakespeare's Sister, Needlenose, Wonkette, Centerfield (where I post from time to time), and Matthew Yglesias at Tapped.

Mr. President? Hello?

Or are you with Cheney on this?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

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