Sunday, September 17, 2006

Shrub seeks clarity on torture

The Mandarin is relieved to see actual Republicans developing backbones on this issue. For chickenhawks like Rumsfeld, draft-dodger Cheney, the raft of Neo-Cons who never wore a uniform, and of course AWOL Shrub to say that we need to "clarify" the Geneva Conventions to make sure that abuses like "waterboarding," for example, are not considered torture, well, Shrub, here are two simple tests.

One: when a former POW (Senator McCain) who has been totured himself says the Geneva Conventions should not be watered down, that should be a hint.

Two: if by some unimaginable twist of fate your daughters someday followed in their grandfather's footsteps and fought in a war, and were captured, anything you would be outraged to learn they had suffered at the hands of their captors, well,... get the picture.

When the Mandarin was a young officer back during the previous pointless overseas quagmire (think rice paddies), he and his fellow soldiers were trained in the Geneva Conventions. The Mandarin even was issued a little wallet card with the key provisions printed on it.

And we were taught that if we were captured, we should hold out if at all possible for twenty-four hours, and after that tell the enemy whatever they wanted to hear. The assumption was that after twenty-four hours, anything useful a captured soldier knew, the enemy knew, so plans and codes, etc., could be changed to take advantage of what the enemy thought they had learned of value, to turn it against them.

If Shrub and his chickenhawks start interpreting the Conventions to permit abusive interrogations in the name of protecting Americans, American soldiers will pay the price in blood, sooner or later. Perhaps on a waterboard....

We need to live up to our ideals as a country. As a wise old man (whose initials were B.F.) once said, "The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either." The same will be true of a country who trades the long-standing protections of the Geneva Conventions for a temporary political advantage.

Original photo caption: President Bush pauses during a Rose Garden news conference, Friday, Sept. 15, 2006 at the White House. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

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