Shouldn’t there be an “and” or a “but” here somewhere?
The Obama administration moved forcefully Thursday to distance itself from Bush administration policies, telling a United Nations panel that the ban on torture enshrined in a 1984 treaty that the U.S. signed applies worldwide and covers all people and places, including detention facilities abroad.
“The answer to the question whether the U.S. will abide by the universal ban on torture and cruel treatment in armed conflicts, or beyond U.S. borders, including Bagram and Guantanamo, is unequivocally, yes” said Mary McLeod, the acting legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, mentioning specifically detention centers in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, where allegations of mistreatment have been common.
Because, I mean, we can say pretty much anything we want about U.S. policy as it pertains to the 1984 Convention Against Torture, but if we’re not prepared to do something about the people who’ve violated that convention since 2001, by which I mean “prosecute them,” then what difference does our talk make? A full reckoning with America’s misdeeds is important, and it’s time our leaders paid more than ineffectual lip service to our obligations in this regard.
Also, this is neither here nor there, but it’s interesting that while we insist that Iran must reveal every last detail of its alleged former nuclear weapons program (a level of transparency that experts in arms proliferation say is unnecessary and potentially harmful to the real goal of getting a deal done), we ourselves are entirely unwilling to shine a light onto the worst excesses of our post-9/11 counter-terrorism efforts. The double standard is glaring, and people all around the world are noticing.