View Full Version : Red Cross Reports U.S. War Crimes

07-11-2008, 01:47 PM
Red Cross reports U.S. war crimes


POSTED July 11, 9:28 AM

A secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross has concluded the United States Central Intelligence Agency's intterrogation practices constitute torture and Bush Administration officials are guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts.

The book, “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” by Jane Mayer, who writes about counterterrorism for The New Yorker, offers new details of the agency’s secret detention program, as well as the bitter debates in the administration over interrogation methods and other tactics in the campaign against Al Qaeda.
Citing unnamed “sources familiar with the report,” Ms. Mayer wrote that the Red Cross document “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.” (Link)

What invariably follows this kind of post are comments from folks asserting they are OK with the CIA (or whoever) using whatever means necessary to avoid another terrorist attack. While there's plenty of evidence and testimony from profressionals (who actually know what they're doing) that torture as an interrogation tool is inneffective, maybe there's some value in considering only the Red Cross assertion: laws were broken and officials are culpable.

By virtue of Senate ratification, the Geneva Convention serves as both international and U.S. law. Other U.S. statutes prohibit the use of torture. Therefore, any use of torture by agents of the U.S. government is in violation of the law, and those conducting and authorizing that torture are culpable under those laws. And subject to prosecution.

The Bush Administration had, initially, attempted to confuse the issue by denying the use of torture by the United States. The Administration strategy then shifted to a more deliberate obfuscation; redefining what constituted torture and claiming publicly the U.S. did not torture (at least to the new definition they had developed). At this point, the Administration seems to have given up almost entirely on attempting to deny the U.S. is using torture and claiming that whatever they're doing is working since there's been no attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

But ends don't justify means and laws were broken. And whether they're ever held accountable, it makes the Bush Administration no less responsible.