" as good as legalized"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I honestly can't argue with any of this. For instance:
...It seems transparently obvious to Washington, to the Obama administration and its allies, to the Republicans and the Democrats of Congress, to all the very important people working very serious jobs, that while we can with great fanfare and self-satisfaction no longer torture prisoners in our care -- a war crime, in any context not involving ourselves -- it is far more challenging a proposition to think that we would actually take steps to enforce the myriad laws and conventions against it.

And in that sense, torture by the United States of America is as good as legalized, because we have all but declared that it will never be that illegal, the kind of illegal that leads to investigations and punishment. It will merely remain a deplorable act -- a war crime, in any context not involving us doing the torture -- that we will never, ever use, except when we do, and without consequence. We will not condone it but, like in Serbia, or Guatemala, or Cambodia, or the thugs of any one of a hundred pissant groups and countries that used the practice to vicious effect, when to their advantage, we will ignore the laws, the treaties and conventions, and we will not prosecute our torturers. Or, God forbid, those that specifically ordered the practice. Or those that sought to legalize it, on pen and paper, with arguments comprehensible only to sociopaths or monsters.
The bottom line question for me is very simple: are we, or are we not, a nation of laws? I often heard people on the right railing that we should "enforce the law" with respect to "illegal immigration" or having consensual sexual relations with "that woman, Monica Lewinsky" But when it comes to top officials in our own country ordering, justifying, aiding and abetting torture - prohibited in the Army Field Manual, forbidden by the Geneva Convention and the U.N. Convention Against Torture (to both of which the United States is a signatory), considered a "war crime, and as a crime against humanity, absolutely and in all circumstances" - it's apparently ok. That's right, Dick Cheney et al. are apparently above the law in a country where NOBODY is supposed to be above the law. This is not about "vengeance," this is 100% about enforcing the rule of law. To do otherwise is completely unacceptable.

P.S. The fact that we're even HAVING this discussion tells me that humans have not "evolved" much, if at all, over the past few hundred years. ***snark***Hey, maybe the right wingers are right and evolution's not true after all (at least not for Homo Sapiens sapiens)! ***snark***