Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Are they really changing?

By Creature

Dana Priest, writing in today's WaPo, posits that the Bush administration is "rethinking" their extra-constitutional tactics that have been so un successfully used to keep us safe for the past five years. The administration -- only after getting hit hard by the Supreme Court, their European allies, and their allies in the GOP -- are now looking "to find a path forward" in an "all hands on deck" environment in order to bring their policies in line with the quaint Geneva Conventions.

It would be nice to think that a zebra really could change its stripes, but I'm having a hard time believing that the Bush administration actually will change. That is until Think Progress led me to this from the Financial Times:

The Pentagon has decided in a major policy shift that all detainees held in US military custody around the world are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions, according to two people familiar with the move.

The FT has learned that Gordon England, deputy defence secretary, sent a memo to senior defence officials and military officers last Friday, telling them that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions – which prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners and requires certain basic legal rights at trial – would apply to all detainees held in US military custody.

While this stunning flip-flop is great news -- and probably more about politics than anything else -- it's hard to imagine Cheney and Rumsfeld agreeing to this change. What's easier to imagine is that they will use the loophole below to get their inhumane-treatment rocks off from now on:

While the Pentagon order applies to all detainees held by the US military, it does not apply to prisoners held outside the military detention system, such as Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks who is being held in a secret Central Intelligence Agency prison.

The battle for hearts and minds was lost long ago by the Bush administration. Maybe a move like this will help repair our standing in the world community, but in reality the Bush administration, and their torture tactics, have been a recruiting bonanza for those with terrorist intentions and there is little they can do now that will actually reverse the recruitment tide that they have unleashed.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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