Monday, September 18, 2006

Wading into torture

I doubt the debate over torture of terror suspects will have any real impact on US election, despite the many fundamental moral issues it raises. still, it remains a vital discussion issue.

I read that Bush, even as he insisted that the United States does not condone torture and that he would never condone it, asked Congress to pass legislation that would give immunity from prosecution for war crimes to those CIA operatives and others who have engaged in what Bush described as "tough" interrogation of senior al-Qaeda operatives.

I guess the criteria will be subjective, dependant on how a detainee might conceivably be linked into the tenuous web of terrorism.

It strikes me that these laws are aimed at going out to places, where we perhaps should not be at all, and subjecting our personnel to hideous acts of reprisal. Acts ranging from perceived self defence in its broadest sense to suicide bomb attacks.

Now where they are occurring on home turf there is an unquestioned imperative to act, although torture is still a questionable approach. But no, we have already accepted a doctrine of preemptive strikes.

It is dangerous territory; it ignores the rule of law and the moral imperatives which are the framework of our laws. But, of course, there is no black and white in a debate fraught with difficult shades and hues.

To be honest, I would have given Bush more points if he had simply stated the aim without qualifying it with a transparently false disclaimer. You cannot refuse to condone an action, but go ahead and do it anyway.

The United States is right in the first instance, that is not condoning torture. That should be the end of the story.

2 comments:

romunov said...

Don't forget, everything Hitler did was legal!

Lew Scannon said...

That's the whole thing. The US doesn't condone torture. Only the Bush regime does.