October 25, 2004
Rule of Law. Some believe in it, and some don't.
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
Michael Byers, a professor and international law expert at the University of British Columbia, has said that creating a legal justification for removing protected persons from Iraq "is extraordinarily disturbing. The Geneva Convention "is as close as you get to protecting human rights in times of chaos. There's no ambiguity here. What they are doing is interpreting an exception into an all-encompassing right, in one of the most fundamental treaties in history."
RULE OF LAW
Rule of law is the single thing which keeps humans from ruling using violence as their source of power. The fact that the Bush Administration has willfully and consistently chosen to abandon the Geneva Conventions is quite possibly the most dangerous and damaging thing they have done internationally. This is, in no small part, the reason why Bush is so hated and despised throughout the world. If he is elected on Nov. 2, that will be seen as an endorsement of his practices by the American people. America will pay dearly for that.
What about American soldiers who wind up captured in wartime, having the same thing done to them? By setting this precedent, George W Bush has placed every American, particularly those in uniform, at increased risk of torture, and worse.
The gravity of this cannot be overstated.
One of the most important reasons America has been regarded as the "leader of the free world" for a significant time relates to its consistent enforcement of the Geneva Conventions, its demands for human rights, and its demand that others do so as well. The force of our demands has been strengthened by our generally practicing what we've been preaching.
But that is no longer the case. That fact has severely weakened American power throughout the world.
What has been gained by Bush's policies? Are the benefits outweighing the costs? By any sane/rational examination the answer is clearly that the harm being done is far, far worse than any possible benefits.
This also undercuts the West's efforts to strengthen the concept of rule of law for the global society, to the benefit of all. It undercuts our ability to go after leaders of countries which commit human rights abuses under the guise of "security".
This makes the world inherently more unstable. It creates extremists, to the advantage of terrorist groups looking for recruits.
AND IN THE MEANTIME?
We will be forced to continue to watch the adolescents in charge of this country, until November 3: Their taunts. Their snide grins. Their mocking, bullying demeanor. Their absolute sense of entitlement. It is as if we are watching some weird middle school playground bully and his cohorts. But these guys are wearing ties. And they're the bullies who have seen and heard the videos of the children being anally raped in Abu Ghraib.
Donald L Feinberg
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
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