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Bush Fools Americans Over Mccain Ban On On Torture

Bush Fools Americans By Appearing To Accept Mccain's Ban On Torture


By Evan Augustine Peterson, III
12/17/05
Published by Coalition For Free Thought In Media

In Washington politics, things are seldom what they appear to be - especially when devious Machiavellians are running the White House. And we often end up getting a fairy-tale version of reality because the USA's government-corporate-media complex prefers to ignore unpleasant-but-true stories while it promotes pleasant-but-false stories. ] For instance, the mainstream media is burying a major Bushite deception right now, so as to leave the American people with the rosy-but-false impression that Mr. Bush has adopted a "new position" concerning torture. [1]

On Wednesday of this week, a non-binding House vote overwhelmingly favored the McCain Amendment, which would ban torture by the military, the CIA, and mercenaries under contract with the U.S. government. [2] Then on Thursday, Mr. Bush reportedly RESCINDED his opposition to the McCain Anti-Torture Amendment (which he had threatened to veto). [3]

BUSHITES MISLEADING THE PUBLIC TO A ROSY-BUT-FALSE CONCLUSION.

Oh happy day! The U.S. government finally appears to have understood what civilized people everywhere already knew: torture isn't wrong merely because it's illegal (i.e., "malum prohibitum", or "wrong because prohibited"); rather, torture is illegal because it's just plain wrong (i.e., "malum in se", or "wrong in itself").

However, human-rights groups should not prematurely celebrate a "victory." Mr. Bush has learned nothing, and he hasn't changed his position on torture. He misled us into war under false pretenses, and now he's trying to mislead Congress and the public into believing that his administration has forsworn its advocacy and use of torture.

Consider this: Bush ONLY rescinded his opposition to McCain's Anti-Torture Amendment because he'd already circumvented its most important provision! The key provision would have made the Army's formal interrogation standards - which can be found in the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation - the UNIFORM STANDARD for the entire government. And torture-survivor McCain chose the Army's long-standing interrogation standards because they were written to conform with international-law conventions that strictly prohibit belligerents from humiliating, abusing, or torturing prisoners and detainees.

So how did Mr. Bush fool everyone? [4] By getting his Pentagon minions to issue their first official change to the Army Field Manual in thirteen years. More importantly, the Pentagon radically altered the Army Field Manual by inserting a 10-page CLASSIFIED addendum that contains new, highly-permissive interrogation standards. The DOD's new interrogation standards intentionally BLUR the Army's formerly clear-cut standards. Furthermore, these new standards not only permit, but also teach, abusive interrogation techniques that will violate international law because they are obviously tantamount to torture. [5]

WHAT CONCLUSIONS CAN WE DRAW FROM THIS STORY-WITHIN-THE-STORY?

DON'T BE FOOLED, folks! The McCain Anti-Torture Amendment WON'T ban torture, depite the fact that its operative provision would have made the Army Field Manual's clear-cut standards the uniform standard for the entire government. But now it won't, because the Pentagon has revised those interrogation standards not only PERMIT, but also TEACH, techniques of humiliation and abuse that are tantamount to TORTURE.

Here's the bottom-line conclusion: "The idea that we have a 'Vice President For Torture' now appears quaint. What we really have is an entire administration [that is] openly and unapologetically for torture." [6] Of course, the Pentagon's re-write of the Army Field Manual, the chief executive's approval thereof, and every human-rights violation flowing therefrom, will be a PROSECUTABLE WAR CRIME.

WHAT'S THE MORAL OF THIS STORY-WITHIN-THE-STORY?

The ultra-militaristic Bushites and their Pentagon minions are arrogant, treacherous, "above-the-law" despots who will stop at nothing to have their way. Even if their way is clearly "malum in se." [7] Even if their way destroys our nation's moral credibility. [8] Even if their way dooms democratic governance under the rule of law. [9] If there is any justice left inside the USA, "having their way" will lead directly to their IMPEACHMENT and REMOVAL from office.

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ENDNOTES

[1] In all fairness to the mainstream press, NY Times reporter Eric Schmitt probably broke this unpleasant-but-true story. Nevertheless, it would have had a swift burial if it hadn't been picked up by online journalists and pundits.

[2] Eric Schmitt 12-15-05 CD/NYT article, "House Backs McCain On Detainees, Defying Bush": http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/1215-04.htm

[3] Liz Sidoti's 12-15-05 AP/AOLNews article, "Bush Accepts McCain's Ban On Torture: Move Comes After House And Senate Back Language": _http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id-20051214093209990014&_ccc=3&cid=842

[4] He fooled almost everyone. Mr. Bush probably consulted beforehand with Republicans like House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who has vehemently opposed the McCain Amendment. The ultra-militaristic Hunter undoubtedly would applaud - if he didn't actually propose - the Pentagon's vile revisions to eviscerate the Amendment.

[5] Judd Legum, et al., in the American Progress Action Fund's 12-15-05 Progress Report article, "Torture: Bush Administration Changes Army Field Manual To Skirt Anti-Torture Legislation" (read the full text here):

"With Congress on the verge of passing the sweeping McCain Anti-Torture Amendment, the Bush Administration has moved to get around the proposed rules should they become law. [A] The McCain Amendment would make the 'Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation' the standard for questioning subjects. [B] That manual explicitly prohibits the use of 'coercive interrogation techniques.' Realizing this, the Pentagon one-upped McCain and simply re-wrote the manual. For the first time in thirteen years, the Pentagon approved 'a 10-page classified addendum to a new Army field manual' that 'would help teach [interrogators] how to walk right up to the line between legal and illegal interrogations.' [C] 'This is a stick in McCain's eye," one official said. 'It goes right up to the edge.'" [A] Nico Pitney's 12-14-05 ThinkProgress.org article, "As Torture Amendment Nears Passage, Pentagon Rewrites Army Detainee Standards": http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/14/torture-rewrite/ [B] DOD's addendum to the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation: http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/policy/army/fm/fm34-52/toc.htm [C] Eric Scmitt's 12-14-05 IHT/NYT article, "New Army Rules May Snag Talks With McCain On Detainee Rights": http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/12/14/news/torture.php

[6] Ibid; see Nico Pitney at [4][a] above.

[7] Ray McGovern's 12-13-05 CD/TD essay, "McCain's Defining Moment" [Contains excellent moral reasoning about torture, but it no longer matters if Senator McCain compromises his amendment's language in negotiations with the Republican leaders. Mr. Bush's minions in the Pentagon have already checkmated McCain by issuing a major revision to the Army Field Manual's interrogation standards. Even if the McCain Amendment passes, their revision's purpose is to ensure the continuation of "coercive interrogation techniques" that humiliate, abuse, and torture prisoners and detainees.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1213-34.htm

[8] NY Times' 12-16-05 editorial, "Ban Torture. Period." [This is a good editorial, so far as it goes. However, its theme should've gone farther than "when it comes to torture, the nation and its military men and women need moral clarity, not more legalistic wiggle room."]: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/16/opinion/16fri1.html?th&emc=th

[9] Elisa Massimo's 11-21-05 CD essay, "Heading Toward the Dark Side" [The Bushites claim they're "above the law" whereas their enemies are "below the law." These claims are calculated to subvert the rule of law and convert Americans to the Dark Side.]: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1121-25.htm

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AUTHOR'S NOTE TO ONLINE EDITORS AND READERS: This essay was written by Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D., who is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law ("ACIL").


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