"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture"
The United States has signed this convention, and the abovementioned article should describe, categorically, what this country’s position on the issue of torture is.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, The United States became a country that tortured and broke the laws of international aggression (invading another country without legal justification).
The bottom line is that these two crimes make the United States, in these two respects, no different from countries that have been charged with international crimes in the past, including:
- Iraq when it illegally invaded Kuwait, and
- Augusto Pinochet in Chile when he had people tortured
The United States lost it’s moral high ground under Bush, and can no longer speak to the rest of the world with any amount of weight about legal issues. The world has simply stopped listening. Why? Because these crimes have not been dealt with, and the criminals are still at large, and in fact, one (Jay Bybee) is still sitting a federal judge.
Spain considers crimes such as torture to be punishable anywhere, wherever they occur. At the very least if the crimes are committed by countries that have signed the Convention Against Torture, like the United States.
The most interesting thing about the possible charges is that the Spanish court goes after officials that enabled torture to occur, and not the torturers themselves, who are also punishable under the convention. The possible charges mean that this process will only be one step away from charging former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney.
Obviously, all these people should be charged in the United States before they are charged in Spain! However, the Obama administration seems unwilling to actually deal with the crimes committed by the Bush administration.
A “Truth Commission” is definitely not the proper way to deal with such crimes, because such a commission gives criminals immunity, which is undemocratic and immoral.
In a country of laws, there is a very simple premise to how society functions: if you break the law, you will be punished. Does it make sense that some poor bastard who sells crack on the corner should get 10 years in jail while those who torture, invade and kill people should remain in their jobs as judges or drink beer on a cozy ranch in Texas?
That simplistic question is really the essence of the problem. We cannot move on until the Bush administration, including the former President, is charged with war crimes in court.
Moreover, I advise that the winner-takes-all voting system should be destroyed.