John McCain should be ashamed of himself. So should Democrats, who owed it to their constituents to stand up against any horrible proposal to legislate torture. According to one law professor at Georgetown University, the “U.S. [is] to be [the] First Nation to Authorize Violations of Geneva.” Makes you swell with pride, doesn’t it? America. What the hell happened to thee? Never in my wildest imagination did I think that there would be more torture in Iraq after Saddam was deposed than when he ruled. This appears to be what we are now known for around the world. Just do a Google search on torture and look what comes up. Then click on the NEWS link just above the search text box and see what comes up. It’s all about America, folks. Shocking.
Aside from that, I don’t know which is more surprising — the fact that our elected officials reached some kind of “compromise” on violating the Geneva Conventions or the fact that some politicians thought it would make any difference at all what actually got legislated. There is nothing that will stop George W. Bush from doing exactly as he pleases when it comes to torture. Check out these examples of signing statements that Bush has added to laws that he has signed. Here’s one of the big ones, particularly relevant to current events:
Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Bush’s signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.
Can waive the torture ban. Think about that for a minute. The supposed President of the United States of America looked at the law before him, and decided that there would be times during his tenure that he might have to torture someone. Under this reasoning, Kim Jong-il could, on a whim, take any American he feels might be threatening to North Korea, and torture him for no apparent reason. What is the difference? How do you prove that there was reasonable cause to torture someone? And who makes that decision that someone might have information that needs to be “extracted?”
John McCain, himself subject to years of torture in Vietnam, claimed victory over the recent “concessions” made by George W. Bush. However, there is NOTHING to stop Bush from adding yet another of his infamous signing statements to any related piece of legislation that lands on his desk.
A quote from that same Boston Globe article:
”[Bush] agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises — and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened,” said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.
This is a man drunk with his own power. He sets his own rules. Exhibit B:
Aug. 5: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches.
Bush’s signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.
This nightmare has to be over soon. Even if these clowns only have two or four more years, where do we go to get our reputation back? What do true patriots do after these clowns are done chopping away at every ideal upon which this country was founded? Do we apologize to the world? Say we got a little overzealous? Too paranoid? Too exclusionary? Do we say, “we now return you to your regularly scheduled country” and invite the rest of the world to talk with us and work with us once again?