Everyone knows that the President is lying when he says that the United States doesn't torture its prisoners. Those who support the President understand that the United States tortures is prisoners, condone such actions, and know that the President is lying out of moral, legal, and political necessity. Those who don't support the President understand that the United States tortures its prisoners, condemn such actions, and know that the President is lying out of moral, legal, and political necessity. No American with the barest minimum of currency in current events thinks that the United States does not torture its prisoners. Every American with the slightest familiarity with local daily, an old copy of Time at the dentist's office, a car radio, or a dial-up internet connection knows that the United States tortures its prisoners, and that when the President says that it doesn't, he's lying. It isn't casuistry. It isn't misrepresentation. It isn't evasion. The United States tortures its prisoners. The President says that it doesn't. The President is lying.
Yet we're still treated to such pro forma exchanges as:
[WOLF] BLITZER: President Bush said as recently as this week the United States does not torture detainees.Wolf Blitzer knows that the President is lying. Jimmy Carter knows that the Presdient is lying. The question, "So is the President lying?" serves no probative purpose. A right angle is ninety degrees. Two and two is four. Objects in motion remain in motion unless acted upon. A premise, once established and verified, need not be endlessly reaffirmed.
[JIMMY] CARTER: That's not an accurate statement. If you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored, certainly in the last 60 years, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated.
But you can make your own definition of human rights and say, we don't violate them. And we can -- you can make your own definition of torture and say we don't violate it.
BLITZER: But by your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture.
CARTER: I don't think it, I know it, certainly.
BLITZER: So is the president lying?
CARTER: The president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners, yes.
Now Blitzer goes on to ask more pertinetly whether or not torture of prisoners is a violation of the law as established by treaty, and of course the answer is yes. That being the case, of course, those involved should theoretically be subject to prosecution. And, one could argue, that by the principles established at Nuremburg and reaffirmed through the European Court of Human Rights, the Internataionl Criminal Court, the prosecution of Milosevic at the Hague, and others, that should American toture be shown as systemic and a matter of official policy--and we all, supporters and opponents, know that it is--that those in the highest echelons of our government and military--legislators, high execuive officials, members of the judiciary--should themselves be brought before an international tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity.
But Jimminy Carter says:
Well, I think we -- the best way to hold people accountable in this country is through the election process.There is probably no category of human being on this planet, including the torturers, who are so cowardly and so reprehensible as Democrats in the United States of America.