December 12, 2005
The spectacle of an American Secretary
of State being sent to Europe to reassure America's allies that
the US does not torture prisoners has brought an end to America's
moral grandeur. America stands revealed before the world as just
another unaccountable police state.
Condi Rice's declaration that
the Bush administration is too morally pure to engage in torture
was just another transparent Bush administration deception. What
is the point of Bush's rendition policy that Rice was sent to
Europe to defend if the purpose is not torture? Why else do CIA
agents kidnap foreign nationals in foreign countries and fly
them to secret prisons in other foreign countries?
The Bush administration defends
its policy of "extraordinary rendition." Everyone who
has survived the policy has testified to experiencing brutal
torture. Just read the account in the December
11 Sunday Observer (UK) of the Ethiopian student that the
CIA kidnapped and tortured in Morocco.
The student, who speaks no
Arabic, was brutally tortured for 18 months until he was forced
to confess to conspiring with top al Qaeda chiefs and plotting
with Padilla. While one American hand was forcing the tortured
student to incriminate himself in the "Padilla plot,"
the other American hand was dropping plot charges against Padilla!
The "Padilla plot"
was nothing but a fantasy made up by American officials to justify
their police state policies. Unlike the hapless Ethiopian student,
Padilla is an American citizen. After suffering three years of
illegal detention by the Bush administration, the law finally
gave Padilla some protection, and the false charges that he intended
to set off a radioactive bomb in an American city and blow up
apartment houses were dropped.
Some Americans, horrified at
what the Bush administration has done to their country, took
hope in Europe's uproar over Bush's rendition/torture policy.
Alas, European governments were shedding crocodile tears for
show purposes only.
On December 11 the Telegraph
(UK) reported on a European Union document in its possession
that summarizes an EU-US meeting in Athens Greece on January
22, 2003 in which the EU agreed to "co-operation in removals."
reports that "EU officials confirmed that a full account
was circulated to all member governments."
So we have the entire Western
world complicit in kidnapping and torture. The entire non-Western
world surely notices the unbridgeable gap between the Bush administration's
immoral practices and Bush's moral posturing about "freedom
and democracy." The prestige of the Western world is gone
People will say anything under
torture, which is why the practice and the "evidence"
it provides were ruled inadmissible centuries ago. The great
English jurist, William Blackstone, declared that torture determined
guilt by the hardness of a man's constitution and the sensibility
of his nerves. Blackstone proudly declared that there was no
place for the rack among the laws of England.
Everyone knows that confessions
obtained under torture are worthless. By having them tortured,
Stalin was able to get the heros of the Bolshevik Revolution
to declare that they were guilty of striving to overthrow the
Why then do we have the disgusting
spectacle of the president and vice president of the US and their
neoconservative apologists, such as Charles
Krauthammer, defending torture?
In his defense of torture as
a "moral duty," Krauthammer assumes that the person
being tortured is guilty and will reveal the truth under torture.
There is no basis whatsoever for Krauthammer's assumptions.
The reason that the Bush administration
and the neocons defend torture is that, having launched an illegal
invasion and created an American police state, they are desperate
for "evidence" of the terrorist threat in order to
justify their illegal and unconstitutional policies.
The only way to obtain this
"evidence" is to torture people until they confess
to the plots that are invented for them. A steady stream of confessed
"terrorists" serves to justify the police state that
has been created. Bush revealed the ploy when he asserted on
December 10 that terrorist violence will be the result if Congress
does not renew the Orwellian-named "Patriot Act" by
December 31: "In the war on terror, we cannot afford to
be without that vital law for a single moment."
What Bush declares to be a
"vital law" is, in fact, the greatest assault on civil
liberties in the history of our country.
Do Americans really want to
give up the civil liberties granted to them by the US Constitution
merely in order that the Bush administration can lord it over
the Middle East, establish puppet governments over Muslim peoples,
protect Israel from retribution for its crimes against Palestinians,
and steal oil from Arabs and Persians?
If Americans do, what remains
of their virtue?
Paul Craig Roberts has held a number of academic appointments
and has contributed to numerous scholarly publications. He served
as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.
His graduate economics education was at the University of Virginia,
the University of California at Berkeley, and Oxford University.
He is coauthor of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org