September 15, 2006

Re?interpretation

by PG

I just wanna know: does the U.S. currently have an interpretation of Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions that gives "people in the field trying to question terrorists ... clear legal definitions"? If so, what is it and how can Bush claim there's not clarity? if not, how can what Bush is proposing be a reinterpretation? CNN -- both sides and no background.

And now I have to say something nice about its rival Fox News, because the latter does provide useful information. "Warner's bill, unlike the one favored by the president, would avoid setting up a separate legal category for so-called CIA interrogation techniques deemed as aggressive." This implies that Bush is engaged in re-interpretation, nor does it sound like there is much ambiguity in the existing interpretation, which presumably did not distinguish aggressive CIA interrogation techniques from prohibited practices.

To my mind, the obvious compromise bill is one that first makes a factual determination as to whether Geneva violators sincerely misunderstood the law, and if so, gives them a rap on the knuckles and proceeds to make the law very explicit and with heavy penalties for violation. Or the compromise could go in a different temporal direction, and if the violators knew they were breaking the law, punish them as fully as possible and then re-write the law so what they did is acceptable in very limited, controlled circumstances. I doubt that the Bush Administration would accept either, however; they want to protect past torturers who are believed to have produced useful information, as well as enable future torture to get more such information. (Looks like KSM, previously thought missing, has been found now that he's being moved from a CIA secret prison to Gitmo in preparation for being tried. I hope Human Rights Watch is satisfied now!)

September 15, 2006 12:48 AM | TrackBack
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