Moderator: Nicole Marie
Our soldiers and civilians abroad have just been placed in danger as never before.
Shapley wrote:Our soldiers and civilians abroad have just been placed in danger as never before.
How so? Seems to me the other side was lopping their heads off long before the NYT suggested that we were flushing pages of their Korans down the toilet in Cuba.
Are they now going to lop their heads off harder?
GreatCarouser wrote: I'm a little surprised the board has stayed so quiet on this.
You can stick your head in the sand all you want, but it doesn;t change the fact that we not only torture people, but we've just legalized it.
Thanks for posting the links to the old posts on the subject. I was going to rehash some of my comments, but you've saved me the trouble.
THE US House of Representatives has passed a controversial bill overnight concerning the treatment of detainees held in the US "war on terror," which has been denounced by human rights and constitutional law experts.
The bill, which President George W. Bush has called a critical tool for pursuing suspected terrorists, was passed in a 253-168 vote.
Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives have approved controversial new legislation proposed by President Bush on the treatment and trials of terror suspects in U.S. custody. Following ten hours of debate, the Senate voted Thursday 65-34 in favor of the measure. The House had earlier approved a similar bill 253 to 168. Mr. Bush had urged final action on the measure before mid-term elections on November 7, and he's expected to sign it into law by week's end.
My opinion Molly Ivins : Torturous legislation leaves scar on America
My opinion Molly Ivins
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.30.2006
Oh dear. I'm sure he didn't mean it. In Illinois' 6th Congressional District, long represented by Henry Hyde, Republican candidate Peter Roskam accused his Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth of planning to "cut and run" on Iraq.
Duckworth is a former Army major and chopper pilot, who lost both legs in Iraq after her helicopter got hit by an RPG. "I just could not believe he would say that to me," said Duckworth, who walks on artificial legs and uses a cane. Every election cycle produces some wincers, but how do you apologize for that one?
The legislative equivalent of that remark is the detainee bill, now passed by Congress. Beloveds, this is so much worse than even that pathetic deal reached last week between the White House and Republican Sens. Warner, McCain and Graham. The White House has since reinserted a number of "technical fixes" that were the point of the putative "compromise." It leaves the president with the power to decide who is an enemy combatant.
This bill is not a national security issue — this is about torturing helpless human beings without any proof they are our enemies. Perhaps this could be considered if we knew the administration would use the power with enormous care and thoughtfulness. But of the more than 700 prisoners sent to Gitmo, only 10 have ever been formally charged with anything. Among other things, this bill is a cover for torture of the innocent that has already taken place.
The first reported case of death by torture by Americans was in The New York Times in 2003 by Carlotta Gall. The military had announced the prisoner died of a heart attack, but when Gall actually saw the death certificate, written in English and issued by the military, it said the cause of death was homicide. The "heart attack" came after he had been beaten so often on his legs that they had "basically been pulpified," according to the coroner.
The story of why and how it took the Times so long to print this information is in the current edition of the Columbia Journalism Review. The press in general has been late and slow in reporting torture, so very few Americans have any idea how far it has spread. As is often true in hierarchical, top-down institutions, the orders get passed on in what I call the downward communications exaggeration spiral.
For example, on a newspaper, a top editor may remark casually, "Let's give the new mayor a chance to see what he can do before we start attacking him."
This gets passed on as, "Don't touch the mayor unless he really screws up."
And it ultimately arrives at the reporter level as, "We can't say anything negative about the mayor."
The version of the detainee bill in the Senate not only undoes much of the McCain-Warner-Graham work, but it is actually much worse than the administration's first proposal. In one change, the original compromise language said a suspect had the right to "examine and respond to" all evidence used against him. The three senators said the clause was necessary to avoid secret trials. The bill dropped the word "examine" and left only "respond to."
In another change, a clause said that evidence obtained outside the United States could be admitted in court even if it had been gathered without a search warrant. But the bill dropped the words "outside the United States," which means prosecutors can ignore American legal standards on warrants.
The bill also expands the definition of an unlawful enemy combatant to cover anyone who "has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." Quick, define "purposefully and materially." One person has already been charged with aiding terrorists because he sold a satellite TV package that includes the Hezbollah network.
The bill simply removes a suspect's right to challenge his detention in court. This is a rule of law that goes back to the Magna Carta in 1215.
As Vladimir Bukovsky, the Soviet dissident, wrote, an intelligence service free to torture soon "degenerates into a playground for sadists." But not unbridled sadism — you will be relieved that the compromise took out the words permitting interrogation involving "severe pain" and substituted "serious pain," which is defined as "bodily injury that involves extreme physical pain."
In July 2003, George Bush said in a speech: "The United States is committed to worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes, whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit."
Fellow citizens, this bill throws out legal and moral restraints as the president deems it necessary — these are fundamental principles of basic decency, as well as law.
BigJon wrote:What are the rules when un-uniformed, possibly stateless, combatants take up arms against U.S. forces? Where should we send them when they are captured? Should we bring 'em all here to the mainland and put them through the criminal justice system?
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