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In Our Face: The US Does Not Torture

Ed Henry | September 27 2006

What is the President of our country doing while two other leaders accuse him of “thinking he can rule the world?” Lo and behold, George W. Bush is pushing Congress to rewrite the Geneva Conventions without a thought of going to the many nations of the world that formed and are signatories to this international treaty. If that isn’t hubris, what is?

What’s left when you strip away the inappropriate and obnoxious language of Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela, who accused Bush of being “El Diablo?” And what other tactics can be employed to get the attention of our blood and guts sensationalist media? I can personally guarantee that pointing out a verifiable financial scam in the trillions will not do the trick.

John Bolton, our temporary ambassador to the United Nations and co-author of “Pax Americana,” described the President of Iran’s speech before the United Nations and elsewhere as a “charm offense” implying that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was making a futile attempt to win the hearts and minds of the American people. Bolton also managed to mention that this leg of the “axis of evil” had “three or four hundred years” of oil to continue selling to Russia and China.

Just days later, and still within the attention span of the public, we have been greeted with the news that the U.S. Senate has “reached a compromise” to give Bush and the CIA the “tools they need” to interrogate terror suspects in secret prisons we once denied even existed.

And how did this “compromise” come about?

As near as I can figure it from news reports, the three republican holdouts that were enough to tip the party balance in the Senate decided that instead of changing the Geneva Conventions they can give Bush what he needs by changing the U.S. 1997 War Crimes Act, an act that makes it a crime to violate the Geneva Conventions. Then they intend to make these changes retroactive to 1997 in hopes that no one can be punished under the Geneva Conventions for war crimes committed in the last five years.

In other words, the Senate can change the War Crimes Act until it performs very much like one of the many “signing statements” both Bush and Clinton have used to exclude and exonerate themselves from laws passed by our governmental bodies. Little tricks that, until a few months ago, the general public didn’t even know existed.

Within this revision, there will be no need to “clarify” provisions of Common Article Three of the Geneva Convention that Bush claimed were “too ambiguous” for his intelligence forces and the CIA's specific acts of torture can remain secret. After all, we don’t want the evildoers to be able to train and otherwise prepare their insurgents to resist these tactics.

I can certainly appreciate that point after spending the last ten days trying to overcome the pain of a broken tooth and living in a fog of codeine, Advil, and Anbesol. I wish that I had been “trained” in other methods of avoiding pain and discomfort.

Of course, all of this must be voted on within the next five working days before the Senate and House of Representatives take another vacation, this time to go back to their constituencies to drum up votes for the upcoming elections.

Maybe we should also be worried about the House and Senate casting their votes from somewhere other than the floor and by electronic means. Is Diebold responsible for the “big board” that tallies their vote? And isn’t that name very close to “Diablo?”

Whether the last days of this Congress will be spent in attempts to cover the butts of our responsible leaders or trying to redefine current practices, one thing is certain. We've been torturing prisoners for the last five years and Bush has lied to us again.


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