Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Not above the law, but below it?

That the Bush administration has little respect for international law except in times of convenience has been pretty well established, but things like this are without excuse.

To claim that people captured by the US military in efforts directly related to what the leaders of the US military have deemed the "war on terror" are not entitled to the same protections as those captured in more "traditional" wars does not make much sense (note that the term "traditional" is being used lightly here). Yes, there are technical distinctions between what Kate likes to call the "war on terra" and war as defined by the Geneva Conventions, but they are simply that: technical distinctions. That the White House is using these technicalities as a basis for skirting the human rights concerns are the basis of the int'l law in question is blatantly hypocritical, especially when the US attacks other nations for humans rights violations often and actually even used Saddam's violations as part of the rationale for invading Iraq.

Its also quite ironic to see the administration breaking the "spirit of the law" when it comes to the Geneva conventions, and excuse it due to technical distinctions, when they criticize Democrats for violating the "spirit of the law" when it comes to 527 groups.

And lastly, as the NY Times article points out quite clearly, this treatment of prisoners is a huge flip-flop for the administration, considering the following:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reiterated in public testimony the administration's view that "everyone in Iraq who was a military person" as well as "the civilians or criminal elements" who were detained by the American authorities would be "treated subject to the Geneva Conventions."
The attitude of the Bush administration on this issue undercuts their own premise that Bush is a "compassionate conservative" with the utmost respect for human life. Pro-life stances (not just when related to death, but also the dignity and quality of life) on all related human rights issues and capital punishment would certainly give their rhetoric a little more credence, at least in my eyes.