Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Torture And The Rule Of Law

Before anybody starts howling it's not torture, let's be clear, we have prosecuted as war crimes the action of waterboarding. We, the USA, have prosecuted it and people were imprisoned or hanged for doing it. Dick Cheney has now admitted to being a part of it.
"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared," Cheney said in an interview with ABC News.

Asked whether he still believes it was appropriate to use the waterboarding method on terrorism suspects, Cheney said: "I do."

That doesn't exactly leave a whole lot of suspense involved in it, now does it?

One of the selling points the US has made to other countries trying to dig out from under dictatorships has been about the rule of law. Words are written down and called law and it trumps individual desires. It is written down with a sense of permanence and universal applicability so that it has respect. It is absolutely necessary that it has wide respect because it is impossible for a governmental agency composed of a fraction of the population to force a disrespectful populace into compliance. Law will not be respected if it is seen to only apply to part of the population, particularly if the elites are seen as exempted.

This isn't intended to white wash or ignore inequal representation before the law or inequality of sentencing, it simply means that if torture is illegal for me to conduct it is also illegal for the President to conduct and we both would have to defend ourselves before the law. If such a thing is to be ignored in regard to Administration officials then exactly why is it that any citizen is expected to comply with any federal law short of that? Suppose that I declare that absent the rule of law at the Federal level the social contract is broken and that I am exempt. By what right does the Federal government proceed against me?

In the possesion of any American who cares to copy it is the Vice-President of the United States of America stating that he knew about torture, helped put the process into effect, and still approves of it without being coerced into such an admission. Does the government of the US understand in any quantifiable fashion what it is asking of the citizenry to follow any law up to this one that held the death penalty? This is disregard of laws up to murder of federal officials or treason.

If these offenses are not charged the Federal government has abrogated all ability to proceed as a lawful enterprise, no law passed or to be passed has any ethical bearing on the citizenry. You cannot run a government in such a fashion - no matter what the political considerations you finally run into a wall. No "Truth and Reconcillation Commission" is worth spit in that regard, this is not about politics it is about law. The US has to make a decision on this matter of whether it is a nation under rule of law or rule of personality and if it is the latter I firmly assert that I am not exceeded in any fashion by that piece of human excrement Dick Cheney.

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