Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 23 June 2004

The moral bankruptcy of the Bush administration is clear

The release by the White House of documents designed to blunt criticism that it authorised the use of torture unfortunately does no such thing. The information issued reveals a line of thinking, and certain actions which flowed from that line of thinking, that confirm to a horribly large degree the charges made against, at the very least, the Secretary of State for Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

It is all very well for the President to decline to exercise the authority his legal advisors claim he has, in time of war, to suspend US compliance with the Geneva Conventions, but he accepts that he DOES HAVE THAT AUTHORITY. Frankly this is just not good enough! Unless the US wishes to abrogate the Conventions, it does not have the option to 'pick and mix' when they will apply and when not. It is precisely in time of war that prisoners, of all sides (including US and UK military personnel, for example) need the assurance that their countries are applying the conventions so that they themselves can hope to receive similar humane treatment in return. It does no good at all to complain that the 'war on terrorism' is different and that our adversaries apply different rules, or rather that they follow no rules. For nations purporting to strive for a better world to adopt, in any way, shape or form, the anarchic policies of terrorists is completely counter-productive and removes our claim to be acting in a more morally upright way.

Of course, the documents also reveal some actual practices during interrogation which neither the President nor his Secretary of Defense forbade. They are convicted and must, if the US people are to reclaim their until now unchallenged position as torch-bearers for a better world, be booted out of office at the earliest opportunity. I am still not being drawn into internal US partisan politics - if it happened to be a President of the other main US political party who occupied the White House at present, and who had permitted and accepted such lines of reasoning and practices to be done in the name of the US, then I would be saying exactly the same thing.

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