That's right the Bush Presidency and Administration have now been put on notice by the U.N. Human Rights Chief that waterboarding qualifies as torture. The exact quote was, "I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture," said the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, at a news conference in Mexico City yesterday.
I have been saying this for the past 2 years. I wrote on Nov. 26, 2005 the following with regards to Mccain's Bill to ban the use of torture and waterboarding:
"As I stated in an earlier posting, Cheney seems to be defying all logic with his attempt to stop the McCain Bill from becoming the law of the land. His lobbying efforts on this matter has shown his true colors. Maybe he is worried that eventually he will be brought up on War Crimes by the UN and he wants to prevent that by having a law that protects him. I doubt that he will ever leave this country again as a former VP, as he will be afraid they will arrest him, as well as Rumsfeld."
And yet today, we have a Senate and Congress that continue to give President Bush and especially VP Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a pass on this. But the UN now has taken a stance with one broad brush that it is torture,
so setting into motion the possibility of countries arresting any of these officials should they be so unwise to travel abroad. You see by the U.N. making a pronouncement on this it raises the stakes as a violation of the Geneva Convention and in that domain the World Court has jurisdiction.
It sets up several moral questions for our country and several issues needing full discussion by the American people. Here are some questions to ask yourself:Are we willing, as a nation, to allow our leaders to be tried in the World Court when they violate International laws and treaties?
If we say no, that we can't allow a World Court to have jurisdiction over our leaders, then we face the argument that why should other countries be subject to the World Court? You see our leaders have been most active in bringing others to the World Court under Crimes against Humanity. Do we as a country have the only moral authority in the world to decide what is right and what is wrong?
I don't think so. Should we be asking our Presidential candidates questions on where they stand on the use of torture and waterboarding?
Where do they stand on whether the World Court should be the final authority on Crimes against Hiumanity for all countries?
You see it is my opinion that when we fail as individual citizens to stand up and be counted on issues like this, we lose part of our rights and freedoms, one drip at a time. All those before us who have given their lives to protect the ideals of this country and protect our freedom are turning in their graves because we haven't had the courage to do the right thing and say STOP. The Republicans, who were in charge and gave blanket permission to President Bush and Vice President Cheney to do anything they wanted under the umbrella of protecting America against terrorists, have taken away many freedoms we once had. Then when the Democrats got elected with a majority in 2006, they also didn't have the courage to STOP the Administration. They used the argument they didn't have the votes. They did. They could have shut down the entire government by not passing the bills that provided the funds for the government to continue the war. They could have started impeachment proceedings on many issues like the authorization to use torture or trying to redefine the use of torture, which would fall under High Crimes and Misdemeanors. They refused to take the risk.
Even Presidential candidate John McCain, who was a former Prisoner of war and understands torture must never be condoned, caved in to this Administration when he, and Sen. John Lindsey, were opposed to the language of the bill on torture was before the Senate. They caved in and allowed the changes in language that Bush wanted and they opposed, to pass the Senate. And this was from "a man of principle" John McCain. This hero didn't stand up then and hasn't stood up since, except in his rhetoric on the use of water-boarding as torture.
I have been waiting for this day for over 2 years and I am so pleased that the Human Rights commission of the U.N. has put a stake in the ground on this and raised awareness around the world. President Bush doesn't have to worry about being arrested in a foreign country today and he won't after he leaves office, as he never traveled out of the country before he was president and most likely won't after as he will be relegated to obscurity after he leaves office. I have never been so ashamed of a president in my life. But Vice president Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales should be worried, for they will not have peace of mind if they travel abroad again. And you know what, I'm thrilled!
About 6 months ago Rumsfeld had traveled quietly to France and when it was discovered he was in the country, some rushed to bringing papers to the Magistrate, to have him arrested while on France's soil on War Crimes? The papers were not issued and served in time and so he did not get arrested, but France's laws are quite clear and it was certainly possible he could have been arrested there.
I would be more proud if my own government had the courage to do the right thing here but they don't and won't, no matter who becomes President, and that is where we have decayed to in the past 8 years. This President and Vice President act as thjough they are above ALL laws. Sorry folks, these self proclaimed Emperors have no clothes!
To read the entire news story about the U.N. click here.
Labels: Alberto Gonzales, Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, Senator John McCain, torture, U.N., U.N. High Commissioner For Human Rights, Vice President Cheney, waterboarding