Now that it’s common knowledge that the United States is a.) a country that tortures people and b.) our “rendition” policy and our treatment of “enemy combatants” has inflamed the insurgency in Iraq (while destroying any delusions of our own moral high ground), should we even be debating this?:
[From the Associated Press]
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said for the first time yesterday that officials are at odds over whether a new Army manual should endorse different interrogation techniques for enemy insurgents than are allowed for regular prisoners of war.
The debate hinges on whether suspected terrorists or other insurgents can be treated more severely than captured members of an enemy army. There are concerns such a distinction could fly in the face of a law enacted last year, pressed by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, that explicitly banned cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of prisoners by US troops.
”There is a debate over the difference between a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention and an unlawful combatant in a situation that is different from the situation envisioned by the Geneva Convention,” Rumsfeld told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on defense. ”And those issues are being wrestled with at the present time.”…
Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush decided that ”enemy combatants” captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan would not be considered POWs and afforded the protections of the Geneva conventions. The Pentagon has felt compelled to look for unconventional approaches to gaining timely information from detainees that might help prevent attacks.
Many of those enemy combatants were sent to the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Since then and after the prisoner abuse scandals that erupted in 2004, officials have debated whether all detainees should be treated the same or whether military interrogators should be allowed to use more severe techniques against suspected insurgents — such as those at Guantanamo.
Rumsfeld said a draft of the new manual has been circulated in recent weeks, and there have been meetings with members of Congress to discuss it…
Some military officials, however, said that disclosing details of interrogations would allow the enemy to prepare and train for them