Out of the Mouths of Babes… and Evildoers

Bush calls on all nations to end torture

Seriously… he did

I find listening to all this torture talk to be, well, torturous…  sort of like sitting through an entire airing of Fox & Friends in the morning.  The United States does not torture.  Instead, we simply redefine torturethe definition of torture then call it “enhanced interrogation techniques”.  At the same time, the Justice Department hires lawyers with no morals and directs them to provide legal rationale for breaking the law so that we can torture some terrorist into tying Al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein, thereby obtaining “evidence” to justify an unjustifiable war.  Oh, and by the way, interrogation experts agree that torture doesn’t work… unless, of course, your intent is to get the prisoner to confess to whatever you (or The White House) want.

Torture is torture.  Waterboarding is torture.  It was defined as such a long time ago.  In fact, did you know waterboarding used to be a crime in the U.S. during pre-Bush times?  Of course you did, so why ignore the facts now?  According to a Washington Post article, after World War II the U.S. convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war (it was called the water cure by the Japanese).  As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the “water cure” to question Filipino guerrillas.  In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners’ civil rights by forcing confessions through the use of waterboarding.

Whether you call them enhanced interrogation techniques OR freedom tickles,  it doesn’t matter.  This shouldn’t even enter into the debate, but the Right Wing hawks are doing a good job of keeping it in the forefront.  They specialize in scaring the shit out of the public in order to get what they want.  But the question that needs to be answered is, torture-with-bush11“Did the Bush Administration break the law by using torture?” Unfortunately, I have a feeling the Bush Administration is guilty of far greater crimes than torture. Torture was just a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda.  The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White House’s illegality [quote from Frank Rich New York Times Op-Ed] .  But let’s at least call for further investigation; otherwise, we’re most certainly setting a precedent making lawful what has always been unlawful [from rogerhollander.wordpress.com].

Anyway, I can’t count how many times I recall President G.W. Bush telling the nation and the rest of the world that the United States does not torture.  But his statement on International Day in Support of Torture Victims in 2003 was, in retrospect, disingenuous at best. [re-printed below – source is HERE]

So all you holier-than-thou neo-cons out there who think it’s all of a sudden “ok” to torture “those people” should ask yourself, “Who would Jesus torture?” Interestingly enough, this Pew Research Center poll indicates the Jesus crowd is more than willing to support the use of torture.  Note to self:  Never EVER get picked up by a religious dog-catcher.

WAG THE DOGWe bark… you decide!

(Statement on International Day in Support of Torture Victims)

Bush Calls Torture “an Affront to Human Dignity Everywhere”

President Bush says torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere, and the United States is committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

In a statement issued on United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture June 26, the president called on all governments to join in prohibiting, investigating and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.

Following is the text of Bush’s statement:
(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
June 26, 2003

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.

Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime. With Iraq’s liberation, the world is only now learning the enormity of the dictator’s three decades of victimization of the Iraqi people. Across the country, evidence of Baathist atrocities is mounting, including scores of mass graves containing the remains of thousands of men, women, and children and torture chambers hidden inside palaces and ministries. The most compelling evidence of all lies in the stories told by torture survivors, who are recounting a vast array of sadistic acts perpetrated against the innocent. Their testimony reminds us of their great courage in outlasting one of history’s most brutal regimes, and it reminds us that similar cruelties are taking place behind the closed doors of other prison states.

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims’ treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.

(end text)

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