Tuesday, November 15, 2005


News Flash: In a statement oddly reminiscent of that by President Bill Clinton during the run-up to his impeachment, President George W. Bush made a defensive statement denying that U. S. personnel use torture on prisoners. Readers will remember President Clinton's insistent denial of having sexual relations with "that woman." The Bush statement, however, unlike Clinton's was almost instantly recognized as a bald-faced lie because of the concurrent actions of Vice President Dick "Darth" Cheney to place a provision in pending legislation that would allow torture of detainees in U.S. prison camps, jails, and other holding and interrogation facilities. With Bush's popularity and believability at an all-time low, his statement can only be seen as a result of extreme defensiveness in the face of the many failures of his administration.

In what the Administration most certainly saw as another blow to their credibility, the members of the former September 11 Commission issued a report of progress made by the Administration on recommendations made by the Commission a year ago - and their report is not good news for the Bush team. Although the Commission members had high praise for progress on a couple of goals, they were very critical of the lack of progress on many more. Among the goals that were reported as "unfulfilled" was that of developing a common approach with U. S. allies on the treatment of captured terror suspects. The Commission stessed that the Geneva Conventions regarding armed conflict should be applied to military prisons and secret detention centers. Commission member Richard BenVeniste referred to Iraq as the next terrorism training ground after Afghanistan, stating, "How much this trend has been fueled by the highly publicized reports of brutalization, humiliation and desecration cannot be measured accurately, but the flames of extremism undoubtedly burn more brightly when we are the ones who deliver the gasoline."

I guess when it comes to torture, it depends on what is is.

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