Bush Campaign Lies

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #72: Bush Does Not Condone Torture of Suspected Terrorists 

This one's pretty straightforward.

Every June 26 is the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. And every June 26, Bush makes a statement condemning torture and voicing his support for the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

This year, he concluded his statement by saying:

"The United States will continue to take seriously the need to question terrorists who have information that can save lives. But we will not compromise the rule of law or the values and principles that make us strong. Torture is wrong no matter where it occurs, and the United States will continue to lead the fight to eliminate it everywhere."
What a great rhetorical statement. Bush is determined to be tough on terrorists, but won't stoop to torture.

Except that he will. And I'm not talking about Abu Ghraib and the allegations that Bush tacitly approved the conduct there. I'm talking about pending legislation in Congress to allow 'extraordinary rendition' of terrorist suspects, legislation which the administration openly supports.

Current law forbids immigration officials from deporting someone to a country where they are likely to be tortured or abused. But Dennis Hastert has introduced a provision in a bill which would allow the U.S. to send 'suspected terrorists' anywhere we want --- even to a country different from their country of origin:

Under the Hastert bill, U.S. authorities could send an immigrant to any country, regardless of the likelihood of torture or abuse. The measure would shift to the deportee the burden of proving 'by clear and convincing evidence that he or she would be tortured' -- a burden that human rights activists say is impossible to satisfy. It would bar a U.S. court from reviewing the regulations, which would fall under the secretary of homeland security.
Legislation which specifically targets suspected terrorists and deports them without regard to the likelihood that they will be tortured sounds quite a bit like condoning the torture of suspected terrorists.

More cynically, Hastert has added this provision to the bill which would implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission. So when you hear the Bush campaign and Republicans complaining about Democrats who 'oppose implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission', look closer. Those Democrats will really be opposing this torture provision.

And of course, only the most naive Bush supporter would believe that this legislation wouldn't be used explicitly for the purpose of outsourcing the torture of terrorist suspects. Obsidian Wings has a more in-depth explanation about what this bill actually does. It also includes an exhortation to contact your representative and oppose this provision, which I would also ask you to do. If you don't know how to contact your representative, you can find contact info at Project VoteSmart.

2:47 PM