Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A victory for international law, or a smokescreen?

The US has announced that it will treat all detainees in accordance with the Geneva Conventions' Common Article 3, which bans torture, inhumane treatment, and kangaroo courts. This appears to be a victory for international law, and for the faction within the US military who have not abandoned decency in a short-sighted pursuit of vengance. On the other hand, the memo [PDF] itself states that

aside from the military commission procedures, existing DoD orders, policies, directives, execute orders, and doctrine comply with the standards of Common Article 3...

Which is simply wrong. Just to point out the obvious, existing US policy allows strapado, waterboarding, threatening with dogs, and prolonged isolation - all of which expressly violate the Common Article 3 ban on "cruel treatment and torture" and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment". When members of the administration and top military lawyers are saying that this is not really a shift in policy, you have to wonder if this isn't just a smokescreen. I guess we'll just have to wait and see...


You forget one thing i/s - the Bush administration is infallible. Therefore if its policy changes it is right now just as it was yesterday, and whatever is different across the changes can only finally be a matter of misunderstanding on someone's else part as to what the policy really was yesterday or perhaps what the policy really is today, which is right just as it was yesterday and will be tomorrow even if it then has to change to continue being right the way it has been all along.

Confused? Room 101 will be happy to help you.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/12/2006 04:36:00 PM

Why waste time giving charitable benefit of the doubts? Given there is no sign the adminisration has had an epiphany, the appropriate response is:
"fecking bullshit. Call us when you've finished implementing the new policy and we'll send in the IRC and Amnesty for a good look around. Until then we assume it's bullshitting business as usual."

Posted by Anonymous : 7/12/2006 05:51:00 PM

Not "all detainees", its actually "all detainees held by the military"....plenty of wriggle room for them there as it exempts prisoners held by CIA, NSA, FBI or any other shadowy TLA...Sure a few taxi drivers in Gitmo will be treated nice for the cameras but it'll be cold comfort to anyone who has been shipped off to a secret prison in Krapluckistan. This promise to be good that has been reluctantly agreed to after the Supreme Court made them play nice, does not change the fact that the Bush administration at heart has no concern for human rights. They will continue doing what they're doing until the American public wakes up and either de-elects them or surrounds the whitehouse with a pitchfork waving mob.

Posted by Michael : 7/12/2006 09:01:00 PM

i vote for a pitchfork waving mob!

havent had one of those for ages


Posted by Anonymous : 7/13/2006 09:05:00 AM