Thursday, July 13, 2006

Changing the rules

Well, didn't we guess that this was going to happen? Supreme Court slaps down Bush. So Republicans want to just rubber stamp what Bush did and say, see, now it's legal! Awesome quote:

"This could be easy," said Rep. Candice S. Miller (R-Mich.), who proudly announced she has neither a law degree nor a college degree as she denounced the high court's 5 to 3 decision against the tribunals as "incredibly counterintuitive." "We could just ratify what the executive branch and the [Department of Defense] have done
and move on."

Right. A woman who probably knows nothing about the law says that the Supreme Court was wrong, because she thinks it's counterintuitive. I'm sure that by "counterintuitive" she means "isn't what I want."

But more importantly, what on earth are we saying to the world? "We signed the Geneva Conventions, and now we're going to back out of them." Or is it "we do what we want, how we want to."

Of course, I'm sure the other option is a signing statement by Bush to the Geneva conventions.

But it doesn't give us any moral highground any more. When Americans are tortured by insurgents or whomever, we have no standing to complain. When Americans are thrown into dark cells for months on end, we have no right to complain. Some people will say that there's a difference - we're Americans, they're terrorists, and we're doing it to terrorists and they to Americans, and thus it's different.

Nonsense. The salient thing is the act, not the person doing the act nor the object of the act.
Just because we're a democracy doesn't mean we can torture - if anything, it means we can do it less. Just because they're alleged terrorists doesn't mean anything. If the capacity to torture or the capacity to be tortured flows from a label, then it's all too easy to slap a label on someone and then do what you want.

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