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

Tuesday 29 May 2007

Torture lite?

The so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques employed by the US, and sanctioned (indeed championed) by the highest US civil authorities (i.e. the President, the Vice President and the former Defense Secretary amongst others) have been used before - and called by the same euphemistic term. But war crimes trials after World War II brushed aside the same kinds of attempts at 'justification' on the parts of the Nazis who employed them - and punished them accordingly. They were sentenced to death.

Read about a very relevant 1948 war crimes trial here in Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish.

I've written about torture in various situations many times since I began this blog over five years ago, but my most explicit comments about it are here, in a post dating from March 2005.

I remain hopeful that one day 'we' (and by this I mean the people we traditionally count as friends and allies - principally our American 'cousins') will realise just how much damage we are doing to our own interests by indulging in the barbarity we condemn in others. Our own British government has its own process of enlightenment to go through - a realisation that in its professed (and I am assuming genuine) desire to 'protect' us from terrorist threats it is destroying the very freedoms and liberties we enjoy and which many generations have struggled to achieve (the news report I link to relates to just one of the many assaults on our freedoms which this government seems intent on pursuing).

PS/ Read the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Article 2.2 is quite clear:

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

The current President of the United States, George W Bush, is guilty of crimes against humanity by sanctioning and defending torture (even if he chooses to call it "enhanced interrogation" techniques!) by forces under his control; the sooner his administration is replaced by another, Republican or Democrat (I don't mind), which is aware of international law and obeys it, the better! Will I live long enough to see Bush arraigned before the Hague court? I somehow doubt it.

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