I'm so freaking sick of this! Of all the things Americans have ever had to debate, whether or not we want to be a country that tortures people should be basic and instinctive. Courtesy of Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog, we have a piece by a man that I respect immeasurably, Joe Galloway. Galloway was a reporter in country during Vietnam, co-wrote We Were Soldiers Once... and Young with General Hal Moore, and is a greatly respected voice in support of the military - but not necessarily the war - for quite some time.
The torture of prisoners is not only illegal under American and international law it is, put simply, immoral and unjust. It is also un-American.
It is amazing that we are still hung up in a debate over President Bush's insistence that we bend and break our laws and the Geneva Conventions so that our agents can do everything short of murder to make a man talk.
We once stood for something good in this world. We once took the high moral ground in our struggle with the evil that exists. We once upheld the Geneva Conventions not only because we expected our enemies to apply them in their treatment of American prisoners but because they were the law, and they were right.
Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda boys hiding in their caves in Waziristan are surely laughing over all of this. They have succeeded in dragging us down to their level of barbarity and inhumanity.
Read the entire thing for a description of waterboarding that I'm too squeamish to post here.
Our brave senators - including those Republicans who once boldly stood against the president in a brief fit of morals - have now agreed to a compromise that allows Bush to "interpret" the Geneva Conventions in his own clever way via executive order should the need arise (and whose judgment will dictate when the need has arisen? His, of course). He has expressed his intention to continue using the CIA for secret detention and torture when, again, he has determined the need exists, and they're immune from prosecution for every human rights abuse short of public drawing and quartering.
I know I've been paying attention, but I don't remember the precise moment when it became Congress's job to write Bush a blank check for human rights violations, particularly when the Supreme Court has explicitly ruled such violations unconstitutional. But our senators have grown flabby and unfit through years of lying prone as the Bush administration steamrolls over the Constitution in the name of national security; when you're that out of shape, standing up for just a few minutes is a Herculean effort. To them, to the president, to everyone who thinks secret detainment and electric shocks to the genitals is a reasonable tool used solely for the safety of our country: Fuck you, and this Friday Not-Even-Random Ten is for you.
1. The Fugees, "The Beast"
2. Four Star Mary, "Pain"
3. Guster, "Demons"
4. Addict, "Monster Side"
5. Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise"
6. A Tribe Called Quest, "Can I Kick It?"
7. Lauryn Hill, "When It Hurts So Bad"
8. The Police, "King of Pain"
9. Kahr, "Naked
10. Face to Face, "The Devil You Know (God Is a Man)"