Geneva convention, Schmeva convention — Congress passes torture bill, sends to President.
Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.
[...] We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.
They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts. [full editorial here]
The new law denies habeas corpus rights, allows the President to “establish specific permissible interrogation techniques,” and redefines “enemy combatants” beyond the established definition to include noncitizens living legally in the States or elsewhere (that is, if they’re found to be an “enemy combatant” under criteria defined by the president or secretary of defense).
What’s especially troubling is Bush et al’s disdainful view of the Geneva Convention. It’s almost as if he considers it some type of laughable document, and you should see how testy he becomes when confronted by its standards. Today, some of the “coercison” techniques [read: torturing] now being performed by US soldiers on opponents are the same ones that convicted Axis soldiers of war crimes 50+ years ago.
One day I’ll have to explain to my child why my country ignored basic human rights to fight a so-called war on terror. I’m literally speechless, watching these politicians legitimate these atrocities.