Bush v The Geneva convention.

The Bush administration would like to live in a world its own devising. If you did not realise this already, then all you have to do is read what Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior advisor to President Clinton and occasional contributor to The Guardian’s comment pages, has to say about Bush’s latest attempts to violate the Geneva Convention. According to Blumenthal, since the Supreme Court’s ruled, in Hamdan V Rumsfeld (June 2006), that Bush’s kangaroo court commissions for detainees “violate the UCMJ [Uniform Code for Military Justice] and four Geneva conventions” Bush and the military have been at loggerheads. 

On September 6 Bush made his case for torture, offering as validity the interrogation under what he called an “alternative set of procedures” of an al-Qaida operative named Abu Zubaydah. Bush claimed he was a “senior terrorist leader” who “ran a terrorist camp” and had provided accurate information about planned terrorist attacks. In fact, Zubaydah was an al-Qaida travel agent (literally a travel agent), who, under torture, spun wild scenarios of terrorism that proved bogus. Zubaydah, it turns out, is a psychotic with the intelligence of a child. “This guy is insane, certifiable,” said Dan Coleman, an FBI agent assigned to the al-Qaida taskforce. 

Where is my copy of Catch 22? 

Bush’s argument for torture is partly based on the unstated premise that the more sadism, the more intelligence. While he referenced Zubaydah, he did not mention Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl, described by the FBI, according to the New Yorker, as “arguably the US‘s most valuable informant on al-Qaida”, who is wined, dined and housed by the federal witness protection programme.

That is just the tip of the iceberg: 

On September 15 the Senate armed services committee approved a bill affirming the
Geneva conventions, sponsored by three Republicans with military backgrounds – John Warner, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The former secretary of state Colin Powell, Bush’s “good soldier,” released a letter denouncing Bush’s version. “The world,” he wrote, “is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism,” and Bush’s bill “would add to those doubts”. That sentiment was underlined in another letter signed by 29 retired generals and CIA officials. General John Batiste, former commander of the 1st army division in Iraq, appeared on CNN to scourge the administration’s policy as “unlawful”, “wrong”, and responsible for Abu Ghraib.

Before the committee voted, Bush’s henchmen, and that is all you can call them, tried to pressurize top military lawyers, the judge advocates general (JAGs), into signing a declaration of support. This they refused to do.I seem to recall the late Marlon Brando saying he thought The Godfather  was about American politics. Hmm! He may have been right. 

Blumenthal’s piece can be found here


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