Sunday, March 20, 2005

More Jeff Jacoby on torture in the gulag

"I wouldn't join the International Criminal Court. It's a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial.

"And I wouldn't join it. And I understand that in certain capitals around the world that that wasn't a popular move. But it's the right move not to join a foreign court that could -- where our people could be prosecuted." - George W. Bush 09/30/04

"Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine." - Dick Cheney 01/26/05

Jeff Jacoby's second column on the torture scandal has just appeared:  Why not torture terrorists? by Jeff Jacoby Boston Globe 03/20/05.  I quoted his first column on the topic in an earlier post.

The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the United States ratified in 1994, prohibits the torture of any person for any reason by any government at any time. It states explicitly that torture is never justified -- ''no exceptional circumstances whatsoever . . . may be invoked as a justification for torture." Unlike the Geneva Convention, which protects legitimate prisoners of war, the Convention Against Torture applies to everyone -- even terrorists and enemy combatants. And it cannot be evaded by ''outsourcing" a prisoner to a country where he is apt to be tortured during interrogation.

In short, the international ban on torture -- a ban incorporated into US law -- is absolute. And before Sept. 11, 2001, few Americans would have argued that it should be anything else.

And he lays out a brief case against the use of torture.  It's a serious disgrace to the United States that this actually has become a debate about current American policy:

First, because torture, as noted, is unambiguously illegal -- illegal under a covenant the United States ratified, illegal under federal law, and illegal under protocols of civilization dating back to the Magna Carta.

Second, because torture is notoriously unreliable. ...

Third, because torture is never limited to just the guilty. ...

And fourth, because torture is a dangerously slippery slope. ...

And, although his first point implies it, we should mention that it's just plain wrong, a fundamental violation of the person and the human conscience.

This scandal isn't going away.

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