It begs us to ask the questions: Who’s saying no? And, what is being ignored now and why?
Who’s saying no to challenging the Bush administration on torture?
What were Clinton’s and Obama’s responses to the torture revelations released in the past two weeks, which include the ACLU’s release of the first “on-the-ground reports” of torture , the report that Bush was aware of his advisers talk on torture, and the release of information on a meeting between Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, Ashcroft, and Tenet where they discussed what torture techniques would be permissible.
There has been virtually no response despite the fact that this news should have led to a wave of support for impeachment of Bush/Cheney. That does not mean they have not addressed the issue of torture.
In a local newspaper in Pittsburgh, Barack said of torture that:
In an Obama Administration, we will reject torture -- including so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- without equivocation. We should not have a separate interrogation program whose methods are so abhorrent that they cannot stand up to scrutiny. We should not have to find ways of ignoring or averting our own laws to defend our country. Torture does not work. Torture violates our laws. And torture sets back the standing and moral leadership that America needs to triumph in this global struggle. Our values and laws are not inconvenient obstacles to the defense of our national security -- they can and must be a guiding force in our response to terrorism.
Hillary Clinton said that she has said:
…unequivocally that torture cannot be American policy. Period. I believe we have to stand for the rule of law, especially when we are under threat.
As we protect ourselves, we have to hold onto our values, and set an example we can point to with pride and not shame around the world. That is why I sent a letter to President Bush urging him to sign into law the Intelligence Authorization Bill, which would have ensured that all intelligence agencies abide by the interrogation standards established by the Army Field Manual, which prohibits inhumane techniques, including waterboarding.
And that is why I have said that, when I am President, I will end George Bush's morally deficient and strategically harmful policies. I will close down Guantanamo Bay. I will observe the Geneva Conventions. I will follow our laws. I will not issue secret signing statements that purport to give the President the right to disregard the law. I will not disappear people. I will not send anyone to places for interrogation where they will be tortured or where their human rights will be violated.
Both of these responses lack a connection to reality and seem to be pure political rhetoric designed to calm down concerned citizens of America. They show a lack of courage because there is no mention of John Yoo’s memo, the ACLU’s release of the first “on-the ground” reports, and news of the Bush regime meeting to decide what interrogation techniques to use and not use.
Independent candidate for president, Ralph Nader, is not cowering in the face of these revelations. He has written an article titled, “Torturer-in-Chief,” which clearly shows that this violation of the Geneva Conventions demands action to defend the rule of law. (The article was written in September 2006 before the Democrats won the midterm election and since then they have failed to pay any attention to how torture is a supreme violation of the rule of law in this country.)
Amy Goodman posted an article on the outbreak of food riots on April 19th. She says:
The rise in global food prices has sparked a number of protests in recent weeks, highlighting the worsening epidemic of global hunger. The World Bank estimates world food prices have risen 80 percent over the last three years and that at least thirty-three countries face social unrest as a result. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned the growing global food crisis has reached emergency proportions.
This sounds like a big deal. Have the two candidates, Obama and Clinton, interrupted their bickering to address this issue that will affect all Americans economically? How about McCain?
No. Neither has. As this great opinion editorial suggests, wouldn’t the disgraceful ABC debate have been a great opportunity for Obama to break through the nonsense and interrupt Stephanopoulos with a comment on the food riots?