Sunday, March 9, 2008

Concerning Water Boarding...

The little twerp truly disgusts me. This man, this so-called "president" of the United States, today vetoed a bill that would make it illegal for our intelligence agencies to use water boarding...

I don't care whether you support the war, are against the war, or plain could care less about the war: This is torture. The torture of another human being.

The reasons why it is okay to treat another human being worse than a guppy?:
"The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror," Bush said in his weekly radio address taped for broadcast Saturday. "So today I vetoed it."
So "water boarding" is a valuable tool, is it? Then why, pray tell, when other countries used water boarding on American soldiers, did the US prosecute?
  • In 1947, the United States prosecuted a Japanese military officer, Yukio Asano, for carrying out a form of water boarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II. Yukio Asano received a sentence of 15 years of hard labor. (Source.)
  • In 1983 Texas sheriff James Parker and three of his deputies were convicted for conspiring to force confessions. The complaint said they "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning." The sheriff was sentenced to ten years in prison, and the deputies to four years. (Source.)
For years we have stood up and said "No!" to water boarding both to our own law enforcement, and to those countries who have used it on others, from the German and Japanese officers in WWII to the Koreans and Vietnamese who used it on American POWs: America has stood up and said "This is torture!"... Now, for some "patriotic" reason, it's a tool, not "torture." Huh, go figure, right?

But instead of stopping there, leaving it as "just a tool," despite thousands of public historical records which have proven over and over what non-tool we've viewed water boarding as before, Bush goes further:
"This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe," the president said.
A "proven track record of keeping America safe." Not, of course, that we can verify. After all, all of this "info" we've gathered is so "top secret" that the very terrorists we're putting on "trial" (another farce of stupendous proportions) can't even see this evidence being used against them! I'm sorry, but a "proven track record" can't be claimed if it's only been verified by the people using the torture! In fact, claiming the lack of another massive attack on American soil isn't proof at all: at most, it's a coincidence; at the very least, it's just plain lucky. Between the porous border, the lack of adequate airport facilities and service personnel, and an overall lack of implementing some type of harbor and port security (not to mention the fact that all of this "information" gleaned is from people who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo for at least 7 years--do you really think seven year old information is relevant and up-to-date??), you can't prove" something that you won't let anyone examine or verify...

But then the frickin' WORST president this country has ever had continues in his obstinacy even further!:
"We created alternative procedures to question the most dangerous al Qaeda operatives, particularly those who might have knowledge of attacks planned on our homeland," Bush said. "If we were to shut down this program and restrict the CIA to methods in the field manual, we could lose vital information from senior al Qaeda terrorists, and that could cost American lives."
Excuse me? Are you telling me that we can't outlaw water boarding because the terrorists have already been trained on how to survive or deal with water boarding as a method of "interrogation"?

So first, water boarding is a "tool." Secondly, it is a "tool" that has "proven effective" in gleaning information from persons who have been out of the loop for seven years. Thirdly, people still in the loop of terrorism are no longer "susceptible" and the CIA now has "other techniques" (most likely as "non-torturous" as water boarding...) they need to use, and therefore the "tool" of water boarding is by default, ineffective as terrorists have "trained themselves" to "deal with" simulated drowning which, up until that fateful day when the Supreme Court wrongly inserted itself in a presidential election, was always regarded as torture both by the United States and every other country with an ounce of self-dignity and worth...

Now, I realize "this is war" (in so much as an idealistically-based belief can be construed as to being in a war...) and that, in war, people do things they normally wouldn't... But is that any reason to be "okay" with it? Our country, our laws, our lives here in the U.S. are based on some very simple principles, some of which are
  • that all men are created equal;
  • all men have a right to life, liberty, and property;
  • all men are innocent until proven guilty;
  • and all men have a right to a fair trial judged by their peers.
I realize that we can only enforce those rules to persons who are within our borders or under our jurisdiction, and that we cannot control what other countries do to their people to a large extent--but, if we truly believed and felt that ALL MEN were equal in deserving these rights and principles, why wouldn't we treat even the most "despicable" and "dangerous" persons within our jurisprudence with some type of human dignity? We didn't say "all white men," or "all Christian persons," or "all people who wear Levi's" were created equal... We said ALL MEN. Even Jeffrey Dahmer was offered a fair trial--are we saying that, due to their alleged involvement with extremist religious beliefs, they shouldn't be afforded the same thing? That somehow, their foreign and un-American blood, they are suddenly NOT entitled to being treated in a half-decent manner?

Perhaps I'm too idealistic, but I would like to think that a country which claims to stand for fairness and equality, a country which claims to be 96% Christian, a country which wants to be the beacon of hope and light for the world, would have the decency to treat human beings like human beings, whether or not they were born here, whether or not they look like us, whether or not they have actually done something so terrible...

After all, did not our Founding Fathers say "ALL MEN"? Did not Jesus say "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me?" Do not we as American citizens constantly hold ourselves up as better, more free, more dignified than the rest of the world?

Or are we the hypocrites a majority of the world thinks we are?

Apparently Bush would like to make sure we are the hypocrites...

And I am ashamed--ASHAMED--to have him representing us around the world.

I hope you do as well. Life may not be sacred, but as Cori rightly pointed out, it is deserving of a modicum of respect, if only because it is something we cherish so much just by its very existence in ourselves...

1 comment:

mom said...

YOU GO JASON! very good post here. i keep thinking how we all treated the Indians here in this USA and still treating them! we are not very nice people. i would think we could find out things in a better way. i think i remember seeing a picture of this torture on tv and it breaks my heart to see how one human can do this to another and sleep that night. it makes me sad. love and prayers ps: notice no smiles on this comment since that is how sad it makes me.