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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What part of 'no exceptional circumstances' does Cheney not understand? 

Back in the good old days when that highly-moral Bill Clinton was in power, this is what the US told the UN about torture:
Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. U.S. law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a 'state of public emergency') or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension.
Emphasis mine. I don't care how many things "changed" after 911, this statement doesn't permit torture under any circumstances. And there is no allowance for Cheney to argue about a Presidential exemption.
Even the White House appears to be backing off Cheney's campaign, telling reporters that they have to "ask the Vice-President's Office" why he is continuing to lobby the Senate about this. But I'll bet Cheney just will not give it up, because he can't stand to lose.
Laura Rosen writes:
I was in a torture chamber once, in the basement of a police station in Kosovo days after it was abandoned by Serb forces defeated by Nato. It was hideous as you would imagine. The British soldiers who were with me were equally shocked. A lot of the instruments and interrogation drugs I saw there also suggest they were not designed to cause organ failure or death in their victims, just pain and terror . . . Having laid my eyes on what such a scene looks like, I just associate such activities with the forces of not only the pathological and depraved, but those who are headed for defeat. If you've seen it, you realize in a way that's hard to explain, it's the tactics of the losers. If Cheney and his office mates haven't had the experience, perhaps they should. And I really don't think it's inconceivable that the remote possibility of the Hague may lie in some of their futures. Things change fast when they do, as history shows, and they could find their current willing protectors eventually chucked from office, and a whole new climate at home and abroad.

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