Tonight’s presidential debate is on foreign policy. I know what I’d like the first question to be.
Others have made this point, but it bears repeating: Maybe you don’t think it’s wrong to torture people. Maybe your conception of “evildoers” is such that you can think of them as less deserving of human rights than others. But have you ever stopped to think that the more the world perceives the U.S. as a nation that condones and facilitates oppression, pain, suffering, and injustice, the more likely we are to suffer oppression, pain, suffering, and injustice ourselves? When our soldiers are captured by the people they are fighting, what is their treatment likely to be when it’s known around the world that we stop at nothing to get what we want?
“Plan Would Let U.S. Deport Suspects to Nations That Might Torture Them,” by Dana Priest and Charles Babington (Washington Post):
The Bush administration is supporting a provision in the House leadership’s intelligence reform bill that would allow U.S. authorities to deport certain foreigners to countries where they are likely to be tortured or abused, an action prohibited by the international laws against torture the United States signed 20 years ago.
The provision, part of the massive bill introduced Friday by House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), would apply to non-U.S. citizens who are suspected of having links to terrorist organizations but have not been tried on or convicted of any charges. Democrats tried to strike the provision in a daylong House Judiciary Committee meeting, but it survived on a party-line vote.
The provision, human rights advocates said, contradicts pledges President Bush made after the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal erupted this spring that the United States would stand behind the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Hastert spokesman John Feehery said the Justice Department “really wants and supports” the provision.
Also not surprised, however, that torture did not come up at all during tonight’s debate.