October 24, 2006

US now a model for torture?

Can't say we didn't tell you so on this one. Just let that sink in, though. We are now a model--a leader in encouraging other countries to torture detainees. And why wouldn't they? If we torture, who is there left to criticize it as a super power? China won't. It is enough to make you cry.
Reuters AlertNet - Governments say they follow U.S. on jail treatment:
"UNITED NATIONS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Some countries try to refute criticism over their treatment of prisoners by saying they are only following the U.S. example on handling terror suspects, a U.N. human rights expert said on Monday.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. investigator on torture, told a news conference that "all too frequently" governments respond to criticism about their jails by saying they handled detainees the same way the United States did.

"The United States has been the pioneer of human rights and is a country that has a high reputation in the world," Nowak said. "Today, other governments are kind of saying, 'But why are you criticizing us, we are not doing something different than what the United States is doing.'"

He said nations like Jordan tell him, "We are collaborating with the United States so it can't be wrong if it is also done by the United States.""

Glenn Greenwald has more on American values under our Godly President and how we have become more like our enemies:
"In other words, by studying the torture methods used by America's enemies -- those uncivilized, evil regimes and groups we are always hearing about -- we learned how to torture people and then decided to copy their torture techniques. As always, the "rationale" of the Bush administration is that in order to defend our values and culture from the evil forces seeking to destroy us, we have to become as much like them as possible and copy their behavior.

It seems virtually certain that the entire top level of the Bush administration was fully aware of the techniques being used at Guantanamo. They took frequent trips to Gunatanamo and met with Gen. Miller. One particular trip that MSNBC learned about took place in October, 2002, when various key Bush administration lawyers -- including Alberto Gonzales, David Addington and John Yoo -- visited Guantanamo. That was the same group which, just a couple of months before that trip, had created the now infamous "torture memo" authored by Yoo in August, 2002, which sought to both re-define and justify the administration's use of torture.

I am not entirely unsympathetic to the defense that in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, military and intelligence officials would be tempted to use unusually aggressive, even extreme, interrogation methods on the person who was likely intended to be the 20th hijacker. That isn't a defense of those methods, but it makes its use more understandable.

But that isn't what happened here. These extreme and vile techniques became standard operating procedure for how we interrogate detainees. Far worse, five years after September 11, the U.S. Congress -- right out in the open -- voted expressly to authorize the use of most if not all of these techniques and empower the President to use them at will. Put another way, our country, after five years of distance from 9/11 and after much debate and deliberation, decided to enshrine this behavior as legally authorized and reflective of our new national values."


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