19 January 2008

Yet another edition of "The Company You Keep"

A mini-furor has erupted over a leaked Canadian government document that lists the US and Israel as countries in which prisoners are in danger of being tortured. Both countries are disturbed that their interrogation techniques, which include simulated drowning and, in the US's case, have been notoriously on display recently at Abu Ghraib, would be considered torture -- or at least would be named as such:
"We find it to be offensive for us to be on the same list with countries like Iran and China. Quite frankly it's absurd," said the US ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins.

Mr. Wilkins, you note, isn't really addressing whether or not the US engages in torture, since it's pretty clear from our latest Attorney General hearings that our government, to our nation's shame, does engage in torture, or should I say, "the questioning that dare not speak its name." No, the real problem is that our behavior is now getting us linked to the other human rights violating regimes across the planet.

Canada, of course, has apologized for "mistakenly" giving the document to Amnesty International, and for "mistakenly" putting the US on the list, which reflects their fear that the US may invade and torture Canadians as if Canada were a breakaway republic if the Canadian government shows a little too much backbone. However, this position is quite literally where we are and where the Bush Administration (not that previous US administrations have been exactly squeaky clean, but BushCo seems to revel in chances to bring torture to new arenas and challenge basic concepts of human rights that the US at least in theory held dear for so long...) has brought us.

So in addition to recession, loss of prestige, pointless warmaking, and bald hypocrisy, we can add the world's moral condemnation to Bush the Second's legacy.

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