Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Yet Another Reason American Torture Is A Bad Idea
To me, this is one for the "you have got to be freaking pulling my leg department". The top legal advisor to the State Department, John Bellinger, has declined to allow for the most rudimentary protection under international laws against torture for American citizens. I'm certain anyone reading this post is already fully aware of what the State Department is. But just in case this isn't registering... the top lawyer for America's diplomatic mission, the department tasked with representing American interests internationally, is actually not able to say that waterboarding Americans is torture.
[Professor of Law at University College London]Philippe Sands: Could you imagine any circumstances in which the use of water boarding on an American national by a foreign intelligence service could be justified?Nicely done President Bush! In order to remain consistent in the face of this administrations disastrous policies our State Department is not even able to call for the most rudimentary protections against torture for Americans traveling abroad. This is a case example of one reason why the President's detainee torture program is such a freaking disaster for this nation.
[Senior Adviser on international law to the US Secretary of State] John Bellinger: One would have to apply the facts to the law, the law to the facts, to determine whether any technique, whatever it happened to be, would cause severe physical pain or suffering.
Philippe Sands: So you're willing to exclude any American going to the international criminal court under any circumstances, but you're not able to exclude the possibility of water boarding being used on a United States national by foreign intelligence service? I mean, that just strikes me as very curious.
John Bellinger: Well, I'm not willing to include it or exclude it,
Torturing detainees does not work, but the consequences that flow from allowing the practice go beyond the bad intelligence we get. When our nation is found to be doing it we lose the moral high ground by which we call upon other civilized peoples to exercise restraint with their prisoners, which may turn out to be Americans at some point in the future. Just what happens if we get into a shooting match with Iran, and they capture some of our people? You can not begin to imagine the outrage this nation would feel if we were witness to video of our soldiers being waterboarded under that circumstance. We have ceded the moral high ground from which we used to thunder about the Geneva Conventions and the universality of human rights.
So we have come to the point that our own State Department can not even be brought to defend the rights of Americans to not be waterboarded because of the backwards and disastrously wrong headed policy forwarded by the worst President in American history. Frankly, seeing the top legal mind in the State Department being brought to this point is an eye opener from my perspective. This really is outrageous...
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