Saturday, President Bush vetoed a bill that would have outlawed the Central Intelligence Agency's use of torture against suspected terrorists and insurgents.
Choosing some of the very interrogation techniques used against American troops by the Japanese and the German Gestapo during WWII, torture techniques whose history can be traced to the time of the Spanish Inquisitions, Bush rejected the opportunity to reiterate a moral standard for the United States, one that would have expressed agreement with United Nations Convention Against Torture and sanctions outlined by the Geneva Conventions relative to the treatment of prisoners of war.
Thus, in choosing the low ground, George W. Bush made it clear to the world that his imperialist military objectives in the Middle East take priority over the myth of an Enlightened American Democracy and long-held traditions of American fairness and morality during times of war.
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
Sat Mar 8, 6:43 PM ET WASHINGTON
Democrats and human rights advocates criticized President Bush's veto Saturday of a bill that would have banned the CIA from using simulated drowning and other coercive interrogation methods to gain information from suspected terrorists.
Bush said such tactics have helped foil terrorist plots. His critics likened some methods to torture and said they sullied America's reputation around the world.
"This president had the chance to end the torture debate for good, yet he chose instead to leave the door open to use torture in the future," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
She said Bush ignored the advice of 43 retired generals and admirals and 18 national security experts, including former secretaries of state and national security advisers, who supported the bill.
"Torture is a black mark against the United States," she said. [...clip...]
In addition to waterboarding, the field manual prohibits hooding prisoners or putting duct tape across their eyes; stripping prisoners naked; and forcing prisoners to perform or mimic sexual acts. It also prohibits beating, burning or physically hurting prisoners in other ways; subjecting them to hypothermia or mock executions. It does not allow food, water and medical treatment to be withheld. Dogs may not be used in any aspect of interrogation.
Waterboarding involves strapping a person down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. It has been traced back hundreds of years to the Spanish Inquisition and is condemned by nations around the world and human rights organizations as torture.
In a memo to CIA employees Saturday, CIA Director Michael Hayden said the Army Field Manual does not "exhaust the universe" of lawful interrogation techniques. "There are methods in the CIA's program that have been briefed to our oversight committees, are fully consistent with the Geneva Convention and current U.S. law and are most certainly not torture," Hayden wrote.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he had heard nothing to suggest that the CIA, through enhanced interrogation methods, had obtained information to thwart a terrorist attack. "On the other hand, I do know that coercive interrogations can lead detainees to provide false information in order to make the interrogation stop," said Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
There also are concerns that the use of waterboarding would undermine U.S. human rights efforts overseas and could place Americans at greater risk of being tortured if they are captured abroad.
"The president's refusal to sign this crucial legislation into law will undermine counterterrorism efforts globally and delay efforts to rebuild U.S. credibility on human rights," said Elisa Massimino, Washington director for Human Rights First.
Rarely lacking in blatant demonstrations of its Zealot Party bona fides, the Christianist right-wing, who in 2000 and in 2004 came together in coalition with the corporatist Neoconservative Movement to elect George W. Bush based on his promise of forwarding a Christianist agenda, continues to maintain its silence on the issue of torture despite its incongruence with the teachings and ethics of Yeshua ben-Yosef, none other than the revered founder of Christianity himself, who as the recognized Essene Davidic lineage holder of the Jewish Messianic Movement during the Roman Occupation was betrayed to the Romans by Zealot-sicarii elements of the Jewish insurgency, of which the Apostle Judas was a part.
Ironically, Yeshua had promoted the active non-violence of a religious and spiritual evangelization and conversion of the Roman Empire in order to bring about the foretold Kingdom of Heaven, rather than the military conquest promoted by the Zealot Party who rejected him.
What does this stultifying silence say about the Christianist right-wing, their former Republican presidential candidate Rev. Mike Huckabee, about Rev. John Hagee who endorsed John McCain, about their stand on torture, "the war on terror," the war in Iraq and about their support for Bush & Company's hawkish stance on Iran and Syria, as well as the SAFTA-resistant South American republics of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia?
WERE YOU THERE