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Detainee policy sharply divides Bush officials

From The New York Times:
The Bush administration is embroiled in a sharp internal debate over whether a new set of Defense Department standards for handling terror suspects should adopt language from the Geneva Conventions prohibiting "cruel," "humiliating" and "degrading" treatment, administration officials say.

Advocates of that approach, who include some Defense and State Department officials and senior military lawyers, contend that moving the military's detention policies closer to international law would prevent further abuses and build support overseas for the fight against Islamic extremists, officials said.

Their opponents, who include aides to Vice President Dick Cheney and some senior Pentagon officials, have argued strongly that the proposed language is vague, would tie the government's hands in combating terrorists and still would not satisfy America's critics, officials said.

… "It goes back to the question of how you want to fight the war on terror," said a senior administration official who has advocated changes but, like others, would discuss the internal deliberations only on the condition of anonymity. "We think you do that most successfully by creating alliances."

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Here are a couple of things for these officials to consider as they debate this policy. First, since your commander-in-chief is a self-professed Christian, they should consider the Christian principle of "do unto others as you would have done unto you." And, of course, there's this other principle that the president promoted in 2001:

Let me say a few words about important values we must demonstrate while all of us serve in government. First, we must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right. There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity.

Second, I want us to set an example of humility. As you work for the federal government there is no excuse for arrogance, and there’s never a reason to show disrespect for others. A new tone in Washington must begin with decency and fairness. I want everyone who represents our government to be known for these values.

> Watch the video > Read the full transcript
Does that help with the debate? Those are two very important guiding principles that the president would presumably (cough, cough) believe in.

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