Independent Christian Voice


"We do not torture" (asterisk) some exclusions apply

In the news article below, the writer generously describes the White House backtracking of the president's "we do not torture" statement last week as "an important clarification." In other words, the president condescendingly admonished critics that "we do not torture" — a nice gesture for the cameras — while his staff added astericks to the very straightforward declaration by the president. It's the equivalent of an ad headline in massive 60-point type making a too-good-to-be-true statement with the inseparable asterick that references 6-point "fine print" at the bottom of the page that describes all the hundreds of caveats and technicalities that absolve them of honoring the original "deal." From AFP:
In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture, arguing the US administration was duty-bound to protect Americans from terrorist attack.

The comment, by US national security adviser Stephen Hadley, came amid heated national debate about whether the CIA and other US intelligence agencies should be authorized to use what is being referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" to extract from terror suspects information that may help prevent future assaults.

The US Senate voted 90-9 early last month to attach an amendment authored by Republican Senator John McCain to a defense spending bill that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of detainees in US custody. But the White House has threatened to veto the measure and has lobbied senators to have the language removed or modified to allow an exemption for the Central Intelligence Agency.

During a trip to Panama earlier this month, Bush said that Americans "do not torture."

However, appearing on CNN's "Late Edition" program, Hadley elaborated on the policy, making clear the White House could envisage circumstances, in which the broad pledge not to torture might not apply.

"The president has said that we are going to do whatever we do in accordance with the law," the national security adviser said. "But... you see the dilemma. What happens if on September 7th of 2001, we had gotten one of the hijackers and based on information associated with that arrest, believed that within four days, there's going to be a devastating attack on the United States?"

He insisted that it was "a difficult dilemma to know what to do in that circumstance to both discharge our responsibility to protect the American people from terrorist attack and follow the president's guidance of staying within the confines of law."

The last sentence is almost laughable. It's never stopped them before. In any case, we can take from Hadley's clarification that the U.S. will torture when it's deemed that such a practice could possibly "protect the American people" — a standard easily manipulated and abused. John McCain and others have eloquently and convincingly explained that such techniques rarely work and do little to accomplish the goal of "protecting the American people." A civilized nation will not tolerate such practices; what does that say about this administration?


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