"Our country is at war and our government has the obligation to protect the American people," Bush said. "Any activity we conduct is within the law. We do not torture."
Headline, CNN.com, 11/07/05: "Five U.S. Soldiers Charged With Detainee Abuse"
Five U.S. soldiers from the 75th Ranger Regiment have been accused of beating detainees in Iraq, the U.S. military said Monday.
The allegations stem from an incident on September 7 in which three detainees were allegedly punched and kicked by the soldiers as they were awaiting movement to a detention facility," according to a news release from the U.S. military.
The charges were filed November 5 after an investigation into the alleged abuse, the statement said.
The announcement came on a day when President Bush told reporters that the United States does not condone torture.
The Washington Post has more--including an inexplicable jab at Democrats for being insufficiently pro-free trade. Bush complained that in past sessions, there were Democrats willing to work with him. Well, gosh, where could they have all gone? Maybe they're missing because you aggressively campaigned for their electoral defeat in 2002 and 2004. Boo-frickety-hoo.
But I digress. "We do not torture" is by all accounts simply a lie. It's not like the second CNN article is some sort of ground-shaking revelation. We--by which I mean both the American government and the American people--have known about this for a long time. Bush's claims that we do not torture are disingenuous--and are belied by his threat to veto a bill prohibiting torture. If we have done nothing wrong, why does he fear this bill so much?
Andrew Sullivan is far less charitable than I am. Fareed Zakaria also takes the Bushies to task:
But today, what angers friends of America abroad is not that abuses like those at Abu Ghraib happened. Some lapses are probably an inevitable consequence of war, terrorism and insurgencies. What angers them is that no one beyond a few "little people" have been punished, the system has not been overhauled, and even now, after all that has happened, the White House is spending time, effort and precious political capital in a strange, stubborn and surely futile quest to preserve the option to torture.
Torture is not an issue that's going away. If anything, the problem is getting worse as the Bush administration doggedly defends it's right to crucify detainees (I'm not making this up) (all the while insisting that nothing ever happens). Is it really too much to ask that we take some personal responsibility on this one issue? And while my post title may be sarcastic, in actually I think this is precisely what needs to be focused on. The media needs to start seeing through the spin, seeing through the lies, and send a message to the Bush administration that torture will not be tolerated--in any form, at any time, anywhere.
Kevin Drum closes out:
It's not going to be easy for the United States to regain its credibility as a country dedicated to combating barbarism and supporting human rights. That's all the more reason we should start now.