Quoting from today’s Local Rag about the compromise between morality and torture:
The agreement contains concessions by both sides, though the White House yielded ground on two of the most contentious issues: It agreed to drop a provision that would have narrowly interpreted international standards of prisoner treatment and another allowing defendants to be convicted on evidence they never see.
The accord, however, explicitly states that the president has the authority to enforce Geneva Convention standards and enumerates acts that constitute a war crime, including torture, rape, biological experiments, and cruel and inhuman treatment. (Wait for the “signing statement”–ed.)
The agreement would grant Congress’ permission for Bush to convene military tribunals to prosecute terrorism suspects, a process the Supreme Court had blocked in June because it had not been authorized by lawmakers.
During those trials, coerced testimony would be admissible if a judge allows and if it was obtained before cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment was forbidden by a 2005 law. Bush wanted to allow all such testimony, while three maverick Republican senators – John McCain of Arizona, John Warner of Virginia and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – had wanted to exclude it.
As a political move, this might have made sense, much as in a chess game, sacrificing the Queen can make sense.
In this case, though, the Queen (not using testimony obtained through torture, for torture is what it is, despite any alternative terms which may be used to describe it) is moral rectitude and American and–dare I say it?–Christian–values, and the sacrifice is to darkness.
Those who would torture or condone or defend torture deserve contempt, not compromise.
I recognize that domestic political realities make such a compromise seem necessary. And that says something about what our political realities have become.
But I reserve my right to be violently ill at this betrayal of the values on which this nation was founded.
Note this story about George Washington (who, unlike the current Federal Administration, which wins battles but is losing the war, lost battles, but won the war):
“During the Revolutionary War, the historian David Hackett Fischer noted, Gen. George Washington had ‘often reminded his men that they were an army of liberty and freedom, and that the rights of humanity for which they were fighting should extend even to their enemies.’ This compassion toward prisoners was extended by Washington expressly in the face of the cruel British handling of American captives. Washington ordered Lt. Col. Samuel Blachley Webb, in a passage quoted by Fischer, ‘Treat them with humanity, and Let them have no reason to Complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.'”
The current George is not a Washington.
He is a III: