Tuesday, June 06, 2006

When All Else Fails...

Change the rules! That seems to be the idea in the current administration when challenged on their ‘torture policy’. A new version of the Army Field Manual contains very ambiguous statements regarding torture and allows the US to treat captured prisoners differently depending on how they are ‘classified’. And we all know that King Bush has determined that HE can decide who to imprison and what laws he has to follow.

Obviously, something needed to change to give clearer guidelines to soldiers responsible for the detainment of captured prisoners. But, arbitrarily deciding that the Geneva Convention can be suspended for certain types of prisoners – isn’t that what Bush and his cohort have been trying to do for the last few years?

…Pentagon proposal to have one set of interrogation techniques for enemy prisoners of war and another, presumably more coercive, set for the suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, said Senate aides, who were granted anonymity because the discussions were confidential.
Obviously, we haven’t seen what the actual text is at this point, but it certainly sounds like it attempts to bypass the “uniform standard” required by the torture amendment passed last year. .And the Pentagon’s behavior in the last few days has been awfully suspect as well – when the content of the new manual was leaked, they suddenly decided that not everyone really needed to be briefed.
Lawmakers expected to see the new document last month. However, the Pentagon canceled those briefings and instead described the manual to only a handful of senior senators and aides. As the dispute with Congress has grown, the military has continued to delay the document's release — and defense officials say they do not know when they will release the new manual. [LA Times]

Most of the issues circle around torture – since we already know that Bush has exempted himself from having to follow the rules set out in the McCain measure via a signing statement (because he apparently didn’t have the balls to actually live up to his threat to veto the defense authorization bill if the amendment wasn’t removed), I’m not surprised at the current brouhaha.

The really unfair part about all of this? The assmarmots who are writing the new “rules” will never, ever have to live by them. They’ll never be held accountable. The only people being pilloried and blamed for torture are the lowest-level soldiers. If they follow the new manual, they are effectively being set up as war criminals by the very people who are supposed to be supporting them.

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