Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday 30 March 2007

Telling it like it is about torture and the 'war on terror'

Do you have to destroy something in order to save it?

We want to save our democracies in the 'war on terror', don't we? I thought so for a while, but over the past few years it's become quite clear that some (in positions of great power) are prepared to subvert what we have struggled to achieve in terms of liberty and freedom over several centuries in order, supposedly, to preserve same.

This is the story of one of the agents we have asked to carry out what one can only call 'torture' on our behalf.

Another testimony doesn't have an online source other than the place I got it from; I quote it in full:

The truth hurts, and it hurts America most of all:

"We now fail to tell the full truth about our human rights conduct, or that of our allies in the War on Terror. Increasingly, we avoid application of universal standards: whether the rules against torture and cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. But the United States cannot lead the world with moral authority unless we hold ourselves to the same high standards that we demand from others. The U.S. has put its own human rights practices center stage by promoting double standards for our allies, and arguing in favor of 'law-free zones' (like Guantanamo), 'law-free practices' (like extraordinary rendition), 'law-free persons' (who are dubbed 'enemy combatants'), and 'law-free' courts, (like the system of military commissions, which have failed to deliver credible justice and are currently being challenged in our courts for the recent stripping of the writ of habeas corpus). Through these misguided policies, the Administration has shifted the world’s focus from the grotesque human rights abuses of the terrorists to America’s own human rights misconduct, leaving other, equally pressing issues elsewhere ignored or unaddressed," - Harold Hongju Koh, Dean of Yale Law School, in testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mar. 29, 2007

Have we protected our democratic institutions, or our own souls, as a result? I could leave this as a rhetorical question, but I prefer to make my view unequivocally plain. No, we have not!

(I make no apology for the fact that both the links for this post, and for my previous post, are from the same source - Andrew Sullivan; I often disagree with things he writes, but he has been on my blogroll almost since I began this blog nearly five years ago and would I think be a worthy addition for those who don't currently blogroll him)

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