Liberal Grace

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pentagon officially abandons Geneva

This should be huge bold front page headlines instead of buried in the back of your newspaper (or omitted entirely if you read a conservative rag).

U.S. to drop Geneva rule, officials say

The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Conventions that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

For decades, it had been the official policy of the U.S. military to follow the minimum standards for treating all detainees as laid out in the Geneva Conventions. But in 2002 President Bush suspended portions of the Geneva Conventions for captured al-Qaida and Taliban fighters. Bush's order superseded military policy at the time, touching off a wide debate over U.S. obligations under the Geneva accord, a debate that intensified after reports of detainee abuses at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
As an expatriate American, living overseas, it matters a whole lot to me that my country be the gold standard for ethical treatment of prisoners. If I'm ever in a Arab jail, I don't want my jailers believing that Americans would be torturing them, if the tables were reversed.

(Too late for that.)

But, instead of debating this, the Senate has decided that banning gay marriage is more important than abandoning the Geneva Convention, something which has protected our soldiers for decades.

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