Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No to Torture

Julian E. Barnes reports in today's L. A. Times that the revised Army field manual to be released today will mandate adherence to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of all enemy combatants in the U.S. military's custody. Common Article 3--so-named because it is found in each of the four Geneva Conventions--forbids torture, degrading and inhumane treatment of prisoners and non-combatants sucked up in conflict within a signatory country that is not international in scope. Whether adherence to Protocol II, which expands Article 3's provisions, to people caught up in purely internal rebellions, is also specifically mandated remains to be seen. The Society of Professional Journalists has full text and history of the Geneva Conventions on its excellent site. If correct, this move by the military represents a significant step back toward civilization from the dark age of Abu Ghraib and the Bushies' impositiion of torture as the policy of the land. But it doesn't exonerate those who ordered and carried out torture in the past; they should still be held accountable for war crimes.

5 comments:

adamh said...

I found your Blog after your Pack of Lies OP-ED in the Times crossed my desk. I personally found the piece to be a bit humorous and a bit sad all at once. However, I'm not here to argue my beliefs against your apparently considerable wisdom. Instead, I felt compelled to asseverate a conviction that became apparent while perusing your Blog Archive. There is so much detail in your writing. Detail that can only be obtained by waiting and watching for something with nothing short of appetent disdain. I can sniff it out rather easily as I used to be much the same way. So much time wasted. ….

One day I realized that being so caught up in things, no matter how worthy or contemptible is, at its very core, a gross inefficiency of life. Vigilance for humanity should never require more than vigilance for one’s own life but this idea breaks down as you will later see.

There are certain undeniable truths about the universe. As much as we try, we cannot break our natural bond with the universe. Therefore there are certain undeniable truths about humans. Much like your doggies we too are capable of "unconditional love and cold destruction, domesticity and wildness." On both ends of the spectrum we exceed our furry friends by a margin greater than the millennia of evolution that separate our intellects. We are immensely kind and disgustingly wicked. Humans save lives and humans take lives. We heal and we torture. We are fair and giving. We cheat and steal. Nothing short of time on an immeasurable scale will change this. It is simply the way that we are wired, nothing more, nothing less. These are powerful forces. They are forces that no political appointee can sway and no activist can curb. Why then be so hyper-vigilant? I guess what I never understood is the connection that some people can have with an idea and their conviction to stand by an apparition.

No sir, we can’t all just get along. We never have and we never will. The thought is a beautiful one, but much like Socialism, the model breaks down when dealing w/ a population greater than, oh…..say a dozen or so people. Lay down your weapons and your angst. What of your adversaries? They’ll shoot you in the face. Ugly, as is much of what we’ve become.

As a human I can say with virulent conviction that I am anti this and anti that. I believe in this and I believe in that. As a species we just are. We aren't this and we aren't that. For as long as you and I live we will kill, we will conquer and we will maim. Let me let you in on a little clue. Whether the "Bushies" , "Willies" or “Hillies” are in office is of little consequence to the underlying dynamics of what we are. Even the one percenters of history like Adolph and Uncle Joe get buried under the sediment of time in a blink of cosmic scale. Nothing can stop this. As history has taught us, mechanisms to control the masses are inherently dangerous, almost as dangerous as ever growing alienated masses with no control mechanism. The alienation comes not from a political policy but, rather, from our own unavoidable membership in the sensory overloaded masses. Politics is mere petty bickering.

jonie v. said...

i read that the list of practices being prohibited was only limited to waterboarding, sexual humiliation, intimidation with dogs, application of electrodes, and a few others. i saw nothing that excluded what i believe the bush administration calls "self-inflicted pain," such as whatever pain results from stress positions held for a very long time.

i can't stand this shit any more.

Cara said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dom said...

Nice!

Interesting! Comtraya!

Dominic Ebacher
ebacherdom.blogspot.com

k9clicks said...

Just want to thank you for your excellent article Pack of Lies in the Times. About time someone told the truth; the public needs to know there are alternatives to force and intimidation.