Wednesday, June 23, 2004

More from the comments archive.

In response to this post:

Well, for some whiny types who I repudiate, any torture is itself the key. (God, I hate pacifists, but at least they won't hit back when you smack them around.) It's distasteful but necessary to whip up the fervor of that segment of the population, just as more thoughtful conservatives need to preserve their alliance with the Religious Right.

But the actual fact or non-fact of any torture going on isn't the real issue. It's the question of whether or not this is an administration that plays fast and loose with established rules, choosing what laws to obey and when and whether or not this is a pattern of behavior that we can expect in areas other than terrorism or Iraq such as domestic and economic policies (as some liberals contend is the case).

That's why lines such as:
"For example, a 2002 order signed by Bush says the president reserves the right to suspend the Geneva Conventions on treatment of prisoners of war at any time."
in the article cause a chill to run through some people.

I don't particularly need to know the details of the Bush administration's rules on torture. I would be satisfied if a trustworthy, independent group from outside the administration looked at documents in secret and ruled that interrogation methods do not violate the Geneva Conventions.

Or, I want someone at the level of Bush or Rumsfeld to go on the record as to why it can waive those conventions (which can be done without making the exact details open) in a setting where they will be made to defend their position publicly. (I'd be curious to hear if this is an inherent power of the leader of any soevereign nation and whether or not it is legitimate if done by other powers who may in the future hold American citizens captive.)

The current administration has created a large "credibilty gap." It will be questioned on every point by a large number of people who will no longer give the benefit of the doubt.
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