Thursday, May 12, 2005

The US Outsourcing of Torture

Torture is wrong and immoral. It's undisguised evil.

I don't understand how Christians can buy the hogwash that this adminstration, which condones, outsources and commits torture, is Christian and respectful of the sanctity of life.

From Tom Paine....

Today, Human Rights Watch shines a light on how the United States outsources torture, so to speak. In a new report, Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt, HRW documents how the United States knowingly sends alleged Islamic militants to Egypt where they are tortured. But, insist Bush and Rumsfeld, they get assurances from Egypt that they will not torture detainees. Bush takes a man at his word, after all. That's how they do it in Crawford. So what if Bush's own State Department recently said that torture and abuse in Egypt is "common and persistent"?

This report is only the latest evidence that the Bush administration is willing to violate international law in order to win the "war on terror." Asked about the practice of transferring suspected militants overseas—technically known as rendition—in his April 28 press conference , Bush had this rather galling response:

Q: Mr. President, under the law, how would you justify the practice of renditioning, where U.S. agents who bust terror suspects abroad, taking them to a third country for interrogation? And would you stand for it if foreign agents did that to an American here?

BUSH: That's a hypothetical. We operate within the law, and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people.

But let me say something. The United States government has an obligation to protect the American people. It's in our country's interests to find those who would do harm to us and get them out of harm's way.

And we will do so within the law. And we will do so in honoring our commitment not to torture people. And we expect the countries where we send somebody to not to torture as well.

But, you bet, when we find somebody who might do harm to the American people, we will detain them and ask others from their country of origin to detain them. It makes sense. The American people expect us to do that. We're still at war.

Does that sound like a president who is committed to the human rights and democracy he claims to want to spread around the world? "We send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people." [Emphasis mine.]

Not very reassuring. But Bush's swagger and doublespeak is just what Americans fed a daily diet of the dangers of Islamic extremism want to hear.

Due process for terrorists? That's wimp stuff.

But for the rest of us—who will continue to hold the United States to a higher standard than we do autocratic governments and dictatorships—the following quote by FDR couldn't be more relevant to the subject of U.S. prisoners in detention:

We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.

That's a test we're failing, as long as HRW's Joe Stork is right when he says: “The Bush administration knows full well that Egypt tortures people in custody, and that its promises not to torture a given suspect are not worth the paper they’re written on. This fig leaf doesn’t hide U.S. complicity in the terrible abuses that await suspects sent to Egypt.”

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