Sunday, July 24, 2005

"Sadistic, cruel and inhumane."

America - Let Freedom Ring
Cheney Endorses "Sadistic, Cruel and Inhumane" Behavior

The Vice President of the United States has taken the lead in the effort to block any legislation that would regulate the treatment of detainees in the Bush Adminstration war on anyone they damn well please making war on.

Cheney is working hard to defuse an uprising of Republican Senators who are trying to create accountability and transparency in the process of prisoners detention, treatment and the accessability of detainees to some sort of legal process beyond indefinite incarceration, torture and potentally death.

The International Herald Tribune confirms that Cheney is the lead, backed up by a threated Presidential veto, in the effort to stop legislation that would provide accountablity in the handling of detainees.

The legislation, which is still being drafted, includes provisions to bar the military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross; prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees; and use only interrogation techniques authorized in a new army field manual.

The Republican Senators involved in pushing for this minimal level of civilized behavior by the United States are John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Warner of Virginia. Senates Democrats are nearly unanimous in their support of this initiative.

McCain is a former Vietnam prisoner of war and Graham served in the military as a lawyer. Both have been critics of the Bush Adminstration position and handling of those taken into custody in Bush's terror war.

According to Senate officials, McCain is considering introducing several amendments. One would prohibit the practice of seizing people and sending them abroad for interrogation. That practice has become the subject of mounting international criticism, as some of the countries involved are known to use torture. It has caused a deepening rift between the United States and some of its strongest allies.

Also, a McCain amendment would bar the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in U.S. custody. This would effectively prohibit not only physical abuse but also practices like placing women's undergarments on the heads of young Muslim male prisoners in an effort to humiliate them.

Graham, who in the past few months has expressed some support for the idea of a wide-ranging independent commission to look into detainee abuses, is seeking to define the term "enemy combatant" for detention purposes, and to regulate the military tribunals to be held soon at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Bush Administration continues to refuse to accept any responsibility for the international public relations disaster that its actions have provoked. How can America be a symbol of freedom, if a single criminal act like 9/11, no matter how horrible, can result in complete abandonment of every legal protection and the rule of law? Cheney and Bush are promoting a system of incarceration without charge, confession by torture and the suspension of the rule of law.

Cheney and Bush want to make sure that they can keep on running prisons and detention facilities where this sort of thing is routine.

So what is shown on the 87 photographs and four videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon, in an eleventh hour move, blocked from release this weekend? One clue: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images: "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.” They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added.

"Sadistic, cruel and inhumane." If this is the behavior at the bottom of the chain, it must mirror the behavior at the top.