November 12, 2014

UN grills US on torture, becomes kangaroo court, Team Obama tap-dances

So much to unpack from one short news story!

First and bottom line?

We tortured people in various spots in Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention outsourcing even more torture to the likes of Egypt under the euphemism of "extraordinary rendition"). Period, end of story.

And now the UN, which admittedly has a number of members with even looser support for civil rights than America, wants to hear more about this.

Team Obama says this all happened under the previous guy and it's all OK now. We're cool. We're down with it:
The Obama administration officials said that whatever transgressions occurred had been under the previous administration of George W. Bush, but Obama that had quickly tried to turn things around. 
"As President Obama has acknowledged, we crossed the line and we take responsibility for that," McLeod said. "The United States has taken important steps to ensure adherence to its legal obligations." 
Tom Malinowski, an assistant U.S. secretary of state, told the committee the government believes torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment "are forbidden in all places, at all times, with no exceptions." 
In Washington, the White House said the administration also now considers the ban against torture to apply to prisoners held by the U.S. overseas, including Guantanamo Bay. Under the Bush administration, the U.S. interpreted the U.N. Convention Against Torture to apply only within U.S. borders.

Let's unpack that.

Quickly? Until his "we tortured some folks," Dear Leader didn't even use the "T-word."

"We crossed the line." Was that like a chicken-torturer, to get to the other side of the torture road? No, we crossed the line while claiming not to cross the line. That's half the problem right there. Oh, and what would the "important steps" be, given the last graf, with my emphasis.

So, we "now" consider a ban on torture to apply abroad? What is the date of the now? Was it Jan. 20, 2009,or some time later.

At the same time, per my cracking wise about the UN, er, while the death penalty may be wrong, cruel and unusual, it's not torture. And, while Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson may have acted wrongly (or may not have acted wrongly) in fatally shooting Michael Brown, that's not torture, either.

Why do I have the feeling this is going to go beyond a rightful legal grilling into a kangaroo court? Only thing missing, even though he's not on death row with a commuted sentence, are lawyers for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Or Tom Cruise, speaking on behalf of Scientology and claiming that psychiatry is torture.

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