Thursday, June 17, 2004

Bush's Words, Rummy's Actions

Robert McClelland comments on Richard's post below with a link to a speech by George Bush last June in honor of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The full text is available at the White House Web Site. And the speech was in June of 2003. Pay particular note that it was BEFORE the events of Abu Ghraib, but after all those memos were passed around between the DOJ, DOD and the White House -- you know, those pesky notes coming to light that supported illegal interrogation techniques. Here's Bush's words.

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims' treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.
Is this a matter of Bush being an "all hat, no cattle" Texan? Certainly if you look at the actions of Rummy, reported today on MSNBC, you can conclude that none of the remarks by Bush honoring our USA reputation for Human Rights holds any water whatsoever. Here's an excerpt from MSNBC:

Pentagon officials tell NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held “off the books” — hidden entirely from the International Red Cross and anyone else — in possible violation of international law.

It’s the first direct link between Rumsfeld and questionable though not violent treatment of prisoners in Iraq.

The Iraqi prisoner was captured last July as deadly attacks on U.S. troops began to rise. He was identified as a member of the terrorist group Ansar al Islam, suspected in the attacks on coalition forces.

Shortly after the suspect’s capture, the CIA flew him to an undisclosed location outside Iraq for interrogation. But four months later the Justice Department suggested that holding him outside Iraq might be illegal, and the prisoner was returned to Iraq at the end of October.

That’s when Rumsfeld passed the order on to Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, to keep the prisoner locked up, but off the books.

In the military’s own investigation into prisoner abuse, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said efforts to hide prisoners from the Red Cross were “deceptive” and a “violation of international law.”

Pentagon officials claim it’s entirely lawful to hold prisoners in secret if they pose an immediate threat. But today, nearly one year after his capture, he’s still being held incommunicado.
Yes, Rumsfeld was involved, and he was actively hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, or ordering it done. I think you can question whether it may in some cases be OK to question someone intensely when that person is a source of vital information. But don't lie about it, Rummy! And look here, the guy is still being held, lost, evidently, in a system designed to hide these desparado prisoners.

These guys are going down, and let us hope it happens before the election. How about the week of the Republican Convention?