The torture debate

THE debate about the US establishment approving of extreme torture techniques as part and parcel of the war against terrorism refuses to settle down.

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Published: Sun 13 Apr 2008, 8:45 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:54 PM

Once again President Bush backed the controversy that has drawn flak from all corners of the globe when he said he was aware his top national security advisers discussed the harsh tactics and won his approval. Significantly, as noted previously in this space, such comments run counter to previous administration statements that attributed the harsh methods to a handful of personnel acting on their own.

The American Press has now effectively exposed the initial high-level cover-up, confirming that the meetings featured the presidential counsel, attorney-general, defence department general counsel, National Security Council security adviser and also the CIA council, explaining the depth with which such methods were planned. Ever since Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration has avoided coming clean on the torture issue. Now that the truth is out in the open, concerned stakeholders should be excused for expecting more policy lies on the part of the government.

The despicable torture techniques at Abu Ghraib, the CIA rendition centres outside US soil, the highest level cover up for a policy that American law does not allow are reasons enough to believe that there might be a lot more that the Bush administration has chosen not to trust the people with. Now that Washington is commencing with a new spy programme even though House Democrats and Congressional critics demand greater assurances of legality, it is clear that the present administration respects neither people’s liberty nor constitutional clauses that have made America stand out as the land of the free for more than two centuries.

The admirable redeeming feature of American politics as the world’s strongest democracy is the power that lies with the people. It remains to be seen what manner of justice they will accord the outgoing administration that brought perhaps unprecedented ill will America’s way. For now, Bush and Co remain firmly committed to their side of the torture debate and all it implies.

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