Bush to ‘protect’ Americans by torture

ReAnne Utemark

Our “gift” of democracy has been a long time coming in Iraq. The Blackwater incident, among a multitude of other issues, have kind of spoiled the proverbial fruitcake at this point. However, the latest black mark on the War on Terror is President Bush’s defense of torture in interrogation. This is not a new issue, but he has recently said in a “New York Times” article, “This government does not torture people.”

Of course not, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Craig was never in that Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Torture of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, specifically, has long been a topic of concern for the press and the Bush administration. The new debacle comes from a congressional hubbub about secret Justice Department documents that allowed torture. Bush said he implemented this program to protect the American people. By logic, one could assume that Bush meant to protect the American people from terrorism and, therefore, destruction of the rights and liberties Americans maintain. Bush is going to use terror to protect those rights from terrorists… he is going to use violations of human rights to protect the rights of Americans?

Perhaps my logic has misled me, but this seems to be counterintuitive. Also, is this a slippery slope? A columnist on “The Times Online” noted that, through this declaration, Bush deemed terrorists more dangerous than Nazis or the Communists. Will there be a point in the future when the leaders of the United States, a civilized nation, decide that torture is appropriate for its own citizens? Despite the revulsion of Americans to the Nazis putting Jewish peoples, homosexuals and gypsies in camps, Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps in the United States. The notion of only performing torture on foreign people is not unfamiliar, but tyranny slips through complacency easily.

As well, this notion is in direct violation of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Admittedly, the U.N. has been losing power for decades, but this seems like a slap in the face of international diplomacy. The U.S. is isolating itself through not only its policies with other nations but also its internal policies.

Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback supports Guantanamo, including the interrogation tactics, but is concerned about the genocide in Darfur. The detainees at Guantanamo at the prisons may have access to health care, unlike many of his constituents in Kansas, but his constituents also are not being put in stress positions, deprived of sleep for days at a time, being subjected to head slapping and being forced to endure frigid temperatures.

The United States government has worried about the human rights abuses in other countries, primarily Iraq, to the point of warfare. The current administration was willing to put the men and women in the armed forces in danger to stop the abuses of human rights by Saddam Hussein. History books are filled with tyrants that performed all sorts of torture on all sorts of people. Will an American be among them?

What this means for college students, average citizens and participants in a democracy is to be wary of the ways and means the government uses to “protect” its citizens. The government is not an entity to fear; indeed, it is an entity that helps to preserve our natural rights as humans. If it does not perform that function, its citizens should revolt. It should not be allowed to violate the rights of humans that do not associate themselves with the American way.