Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. US law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a state of public emergency) or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension. (Report of the United States to the UN Committee against Torture, October 15, 1999, UN Doc. CAT/C/28/Add.5, February 9, 2000, para. 6.)
With today’s revelations about white phosphorus, and the continued revelations about “black sites” and Cheney’s continued lobbying for torture exemptions, it’s high time someone goes to jail.
I’ve never been more disappointed in my country. I was embarrassed by the Lewinsky thing, because I saw it as a case of sexual harassment. I thought impeachment was the right thing to do, because there was obvious wrong-doing and a crime was committed (even if it wasn’t the one they charged him with). But this? THIS?!
There is no excuse. There is no rationalization. There is no way to cover this up or make it go away. Our government has committed atrocities in the name of “freedom” and put a huge bloody mark on our flag that may never go away. It’s time for people to stand up and say “no more”. Write your congressman, write your senator, write the President. This has to stop, and those responsible have to be held accountable.
bq. US law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a state of public emergency) or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension.
It’s already the law, and we’ve already broken it. In the past, we’ve gotten exemptions for US soldiers and military leaders from international courts, but you know what, this is a case where it may be justified to turn Bush, Cheney and anyone else who endorsed and passed down the pro-torture rules, over to the Hague. It’s not the soldiers’ fault, it’s their commanders.
This makes me think of Abu Ghraib. Since we now know that torture was a part of the policy, what does that mean for Lyndie England and the other enlisted soldiers who were found guilty? Why hasn’t anyone in a position of authority been held responsible?
We’re supposed to be better than this. We’re supposed to be land of the free, home of the brave, not the land of the war criminal, home of the torturer. We can’t spread freedom if we’re also spreading torture, death and oppression. They’re mutually exclusive. You can’t build a democracy from the scorched bones of women and children. You can’t wipe away the stain of secret torture prisons without someone paying the price for it.