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There is an apocryphal tale about a child who, having failed to perform an assigned task, invented the most outlandish excuse for why he could not produce the required finished work. We cannot say if there ever was an actual child who claimed that the dog had eaten his homework. But we have its equivalent now in the current president of the United States.
The incredible world spectacle we have is this. First, the president demands that the War Crimes Act, the law of the land, be changed to accommodate the crimes that have ALREADY been committed at his direction, specifically to authorize methods of torture previously and rightfully considered verboten. If this is not a naked admission that he has broken the law in the most hideous way we don't know what is. Second, and at the same time, he is demanding that new laws enacted be to hotrod the prosecution of those he personally deems enemies of the state. What is he trying to tell the world, that those people CANNOT be convicted of an offense under our current law, but that he himself cannot ESCAPE conviction under that same law for what he has done?
THE WAR CRIMES ACT MUST NOT BE CHANGED AT ALL
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Those who really know interrogation know that information extracted by such means is BAD intelligence, notwithstanding the most extreme "ticking time bomb" scenario the Bush regime constantly throws in our faces. But just as they have systematically done in every other policy area without exception, they have here again muscled out of government decision making anyone who actually knows what they are talking about. We are told for example that the military JAG attorneys were held for hours in a meeting and not allowed to leave until they signed on to the president's demands.
And now Bush directly threatens the American people by saying if they will not rubberstamp his torture program as is, he will scuttle it. That's exactly akin to a bank robber threatening to stop robbing banks unless we change the laws to his specifications. Of course it has to stop. When we have a program that is so destructive to our REAL national security it absolutely MUST stop. Maybe then, just maybe, we could get back to obtaining good intelligence of actual value. But Bush in his patented flim-flam way would make it sound like his critics would have us stop all intelligence operations to protect our families.
They have their talking point, that the law needs to be "clarified", and they are going to keep repeating it like a broken record until we all run screaming from the room. The problem is that they KNEW they were breaking international and U.S. law when they did it, in the most premeditated way, and were so warned in advance by their own attorney general in no uncertain terms. Part of the language they would now unilaterally and retroactively excise from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions refers to "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating . . . " At Abu Ghraib, Bush administration henchmen DESIGNED methods of treatment with the deliberate intent of being maximally offensive to their Muslim victims, most of whom were innocent of any crime whatsoever.
If war itself were not enough of an atrocity, when the depth of the horrors of World War II came to light some of the greatest legal minds ever labored to define in words what civilized people must forever proscribe, even in war. And in the Geneva Conventions they succeeded. Any who dare to violate these mutually accepted definitions of despicable behavior are guilty of war crimes on their face. We need NOT behave as monsters ourselves to protect our people. Such acts only lead to the remaining civilized people in the world shunning us as pariahs, to never again volunteer the good intelligence we really need to thwart those who mean us harm.
In fact, the Bush administration has repeatedly jeopardized intelligence operations of REAL value to score media propaganda points. The British were furious two years ago when they outed a very valuable mole in Al Qaeda, thereby doing incalculable damage to our ability to stop the bad guys. And they did it again by pressuring the British to move prematurely on the recent airline plot, related to so-called "liquid explosives" which had no chemical possibility of ever being operational. The case against those plotters and their associates is accordingly weaker than it would have been otherwise.
Keep in mind that in both the above situations informants were gained by winning people to our side. Such intelligence losses cannot be compensated for by stooping to torture methods which have the exact OPPOSITE effect.
DETAINEES MUST BE PROSECUTED UNDER CURRENT LAW
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