The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Human Rights Watch tries to jog the world’s short memory about torture

Mar 13, 2006

In January, Human Rights Watch issued its 2005 report on the use of torture around the world. It detailed hundreds of pages of human abuse by governments around the world. But its top concern was the United States, because “torture and mistreatment have been a deliberate part of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism strategy, undermining the global defense of human rights.”

The head of Human Rights Watch wrote that the U.S. policy of torture came from its top leadership. He mentioned Bush’s threat to veto a bill against “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” and Cheney’s attempt to protect the CIA from any responsibility. Human Rights Watch’s director also mentioned the complicity of Britain in sending suspects to another country to be “questioned,” that is, tortured, by another government and the European Union’s willingness to ignore torture used in countries it wanted for its allies.

Altogether, the director of Human Rights Watch wrote of “a global leadership void” in defending human rights.

Bush responded, with his most cynically “sincere” face, “No American will be allowed to torture another human being anywhere in the world.”

No U.S. torture? Apparently the administration expects that nobody remembers the dead Iraqis and Afghans, beaten and tortured under American command. Apparently, he figures nobody remembers Abu Ghraib any more. Apparently, the 500 men being physically abused, including force feeding right now at Guantanamo, have not been “tortured.” The U.S. administration keeps changing its definition of torture.

This government sends its officials around the world to lecture other leaders about democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Meanwhile it has chosen a conscious policy of torture, led by its attorney general, Mr. Torture-is-legal, and its chief officer, President Liar.

But if Human Rights Watch hopes to shame the leaders of the world’s richest countries, the organization is on a fool’s errand. How can those responsible for abusing human rights turn around and investigate themselves or lead the way forward from such bestial actions?

The angry populations of the world will one day bring such torturing murderers to account.