Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's About Torture, Plain and Simple

I posted the following in the comments this morning over at Morning Martini and PoP suggested I repost it here. This is not the whole response but it is the meat of it.

It was in response to a commenter there who spent several paragraphs building the strawman (you lefties want to pamper the people who are trying to kill us or I am scared shitless of the terrorists and anything you want to do is OK by me) in response to PoP's post about the sorry state affairs with respect to Bush and Co. trying to "clarify" Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

The purpose of this "clarification" as they call it is to allow them to perform acts of interrogation that under the present understanding of Common Article 3 are, in fact torture. The following is what 33 military leaders including Colin Powell, Stansfield Turner and Generals John Shalikashvili and Joseph Hoar wrote in a letter to Congress...

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions provides the minimum standards for humane treatment and fair justice that apply to anyone captured in armed conflict. These standards were specifically designed to ensure that those who fall outside the other, more extensive, protections of the Conventions are treated in accordance with the values of civilized nations. The framers of the Conventions, including the American representatives, in particular wanted to ensure that Common Article 3 would apply in situations where a state party to the treaty, like the United States, fights an adversary that is not a party, including irregular forces like al Qaeda. The United States military has abided by the basic requirements of Common Article 3 in every conflict since the Conventions were adopted. In each case, we applied the Geneva Conventions -- including, at a minimum, Common Article 3 -- even to enemies that systematically violated the Conventions themselves.

We have abided by this standard in our own conduct for a simple reason: the same standard serves to protect American servicemen and women when they engage in conflicts covered by Common Article 3. Preserving the integrity of this standard has become increasingly important in recent years when our adversaries often are not nation-states. Congress acted in 1997 to further this goal by criminalizing violations of Common Article 3 in the War Crimes Act, enabling us to hold accountable those who abuse our captured personnel, no matter the nature of the armed conflict.

If any agency of the U.S. government is excused from compliance with these standards, or if we seek to redefine what Common Article 3 requires, we should not imagine that our enemies will take notice of the technical distinctions when they hold U.S. prisoners captive. If degradation, humiliation, physical and mental brutalization of prisoners is decriminalized or considered permissible under a restrictive interpretation of Common Article 3, we will forfeit all credible objections should such barbaric practices be inflicted upon American prisoners.

This is what this is all about [deleted] [ed.]. The above gentlemen are not "liberal appeasers" and I sure wouldn't call them "weak and dishonest" to their faces. These are men that can see beyond the petty "spoiled frat boy" motivations of George Bush and Dick Cheney and all of these men had the guts and morals to fight for their country. These are courageous men and brave enough to support what we as Americans have always held most dear.[snip]

To quote PoP "We must show this president that America is brave enough to remain free. We will not lose our souls to the enemy or to his administration."

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