UPDATE: Hey, it's really late here, so I gotta get to bed. Keep on posting comments if you want, and I'll respond later. This is, in my opinion, a super important event that happened, so I probably shouldn't have put this up at this time of day. Oh, and of course everyone who looks at this diary is welcome to Rec it. Yeah, that's what you should do... get this thing on the Rec List and make me look like a fool for giving up and going to bed!
In the Q&A part of the press conference tonight, Barack Obama, the president of the United States, pretty much guaranteed that prosecutions against Bush, Cheney, and the others will go forward.
I'm pretty sure...
Unless I'm missing something here....
Is it just me?
I know there's been at least one diary dealing with this (RobertinWisconsin has one on the recent diaries list right now), and I assume there've been others. Why none have made it to the Rec List is beyond me, though, since this seems like a HUGE deal.
Jake Tapper, ABC: You've said in the past that waterboarding, in your opinion, is torture. Torture is a violation of international law and of the Geneva Conventions. Do you believe that the previous administration sanctioned torture?
President Obama: What I've said, and I will repeat, is that waterboarding violates our ideals and our values. I do believe that it is torture. I don't think that's just my opinion, that's the opinion of many who have examined the topic. And that's why I put an end to these practices"
He then went on to explain why he thinks it's wrong, why he stopped the practice, etc. Then, at the end, there was a follow-up.
Tapper: So you believe that the previous administration sanctioned torture?
Obama: I believe that waterboarding was torture. And I think that whatever legal rational that was used, it was a mistake.
Tapper of course forgot to mention that there's also U.S. laws outlawing torture. But my point is not really about that. It's about the Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. is REQUIRED by U.S. law and our own Constitution, to uphold.
Here's the requirement in the Constitution:
U.S. Constitution, Article VI
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding
And here's the relevant parts of the Geneva Conventions:
CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
- 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.
- An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. . . .
- Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
- The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
And notice that even if they DID manage to get out of calling this "torture", that might not help much. This Convention also prohibits "Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment."
But the main points I'm making are these:
- The Constitution REQUIRES us to consider treaties the "supreme law of the land".
- The Geneva Conventions is a treaty (actually several) that we've signed on to.
- The GC bans torture ABSOLUTELY and ALWAYS. "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever."
- The GC REQUIRE us to prosecute: The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
- Tonight, in the press conference, our PRESIDENT declared that waterboarding is, indeed, TORTURE.
- While he didn't specifically say, "Yes, Bush ordered waterboarding," he didn't disagree when asked, "So you believe that the previous administration sanctioned torture?" And he DID say, "I believe that waterboarding was torture. And I think that whatever legal rational that was used, it was a mistake."
- It doesn't really matter whether Obama believes Bush and Cheney "sanctioned torture". From THEIR OWN LIPS, both Bush and Cheney have admitted they authorized waterboarding. Obama has declared waterboarding is torture, so...
8) Obama has just committed (LEGALLY committed) himself and his country, to prosecute George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and others.
If there's something wrong with my analysis, I'm all ears.