Re: The Times Finally Admits There Is A Law Against Torture
October 14, 2005
[[[audio]]]Re: The Times Finally Admits There Is A Law Against Torture
From: Dean Lawrence R. Velvel
Shall we say "Hallelujah"? On October 8th, in discussing Senator McCain’s bill to "ban ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading’ treatment of prisoners," the editorial page of The New York Times, in the lead editorial no less, said that such conduct, "by the way, is already against American law . . . ." Glory be -- the grey lady of Time Square recognized what none of the news media has had the guts to say, what none of the lily livered Democrats have been willing to say, what even John McCain, as far as I know, has been unwilling to say: that there is a federal statute barring Americans from torturing prisoners outside the United States, a point extensively elaborated here several times.
True, The Times’ statement was not a focal point of its editorial, but was a mere aside in the course of supporting McCain’s bill and opposing the Administration’s effort to quash it. True, The Times did not say that the already existing law barring torture by Americans outside the United States is a criminal law. True, The Times did not say that this criminal law makes it not a mere misdemeanor but a felony to torture persons outside the United States. True, The Times did not say that the felony is so serious that it can be punished by up to life imprisonment or capital punishment. True, The Times did not say that the statute also makes it a crime to conspire in the torture of persons outside the United States, with the crime of conspiracy being so serious that it is itself punishable by up to life imprisonment. True, The Times did not say that the crime of conspiracy to torture outside the United States, being a felony, is an impeachable offense. True, The Times did not say that evidence repeatedly presented on its own pages shows with near or total conclusiveness that George Bush and lots of his henchpeople are guilty of the felony, the impeachable offense, of conspiring in the commission of torture outside the United States.
True, all true. Yet, for the first time as far as I know, some major publication has said -- would "reluctantly conceded" be more apt? -- that there is a law against torture. That I imagine, constitutes progress in these days when the media is populated by Casper Milquetoasts, not Tom Paines, when the government these Milquetoasts fear does not consider itself bound by law, and when the Democrats and liberals are pretty much spineless (and unprincipled).
Who knows? -- now that The Times has admitted that there is a law against torture, maybe some other media outlets will do the same. One can hope, can’t one? -- even if hope usually turns out fruitless in these United States?*
*This posting represents the personal views of Lawrence R. Velvel. If you wish to respond to this email/blog, please email your response to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your response may be posted on the blog if you have no objection; please tell me if you do object.