Today we are seeing a test of the Second Superpower in action -- let's hope it works. Lots of blogs are talking about this issue and encouraging action, so you'll probably run across it multiple times. It's worth making noise about.
Sections 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004" would legalize the extradition of "terrorist and criminal" suspects to foreign countries for the purposes of torture for information extraction. Specifically, the sections change our agreement to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As one intelligence official described it in the Washington Post (on December 27, 2002), "We don't kick the shit out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the shit out of them.”
Torture doesn't work -- you can get anyone, guilty or innocent, to admit to anything with sufficient pressure. It also makes matters worse. Legalizing the use of torture -- even "outsourced" torture -- undercuts our legitimate attempts to stop the use of torture elsewhere. It makes the use of torture against our own citizens held by others all the more likely. And it simply runs against everything we are supposed to value.
The bill could come to the floor as early as next week. If you live in the United States, write your Representative about this mind-bogglingly awful provision. Rep. Ed Markey will be introducing an amendment to change this language to specifically outlaw this sort of extradition for torture. Markey's amendment is worth supporting.
Whether you're an American or not, contact your local media about this. This is not in the best traditions of American values and, regardless of its origins (apparently introduced by Speaker Hastert), this is not a partisan issue. The more light we can shine on this provision, the more likely it will die a well-deserved death.
More information here.
You're absolutely right! When torture is illegal the people who sawed off the heads of the two American contractors in Iraq will switch to more humane treatment.
So is that your standard of what American behavior should be? Whatever the other guy does?