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

Tuesday, 8 June 2004

UNITED STATES (insert appropriate word/s) TORTURE

My understanding has always been, even after the revelations about Abu Ghraib (perhaps I'm being optimistic here, but bear with me), that the only possible word(s) which could fit here, in the context of the United States, would be something along the lines of:
condemns; or
deplores; or
does not use
.


Now it is possible that this cosy view will need to be revised, if this Telegraph report (about the leaking of a Pentagon memo to the Wall Street Journal, link not available) is in any way factual, to something along the lines of:
tolerates; or
justifies; or
sanctions;

- with these qualified by something like:
under certain circumstances; or
in the fight against terrorism
.


The Telegraph postulates that:
The leak appears to be part of an extraordinary civil war in the Pentagon between civilian officials and uniformed officers appalled by what they have described as moves by political appointees to shroud the war on terrorism in an "environment of legal ambiguity".


If any of this is true it will blow to shreds the pretence that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were the acts of a few US military personnel or civilian contractors operating outside approved procedures. That will lead, in my view, to only one conclusion: that those ultimately responsible may be much higher up the chain of command, perhaps close to or at the top. Whoever is responsible needs to resign, or be forced out, and punished without delay.

To reiterate, torture is outlawed, without any qualification, by the International Convention on Torture.

It is never justified, or justifiable, on any pretext whatsoever. I hope our Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will think about this in the coming weeks should the substance of the leaked memo be authenticated. To date, and despite my usual antipathy for anything said by Tony Blair's Labour government, I have supported strongly his stance on terrorism and our participation in both Afghanistan and Iraq in partnership with the United States, but I would expect him to dissociate himself immediately, and in the strongest possible terms, from cooperation with this US administration if any of these allegations are borne out, until and unless it roots out the evil which seems to be growing like a malignant cancer within it.

I hated to write that last bit above, but there it is ...

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