Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Justification of torture by George W. Bush sends wrong message

In his first interview since leaving office in 2009, former U.S. President George W. Bush shouldered responsibility for authorizing torture, and sent across a wrong message by attempting to justify waterboarding - a form of torture, and other cruel and inhuman practices against detainees.

Watch part of the compelling interview below:

The U.S. is party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) which it ratified in October 1994.

For clarity, article 1 of the Convention defines torture as: "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

With the consent and authorization of George W. Bush, detainees in detention facilities like Guantanamo Bay were intentionally tortured for the purpose of obtaining information or confessions.

The U.S. has a moral, and legal obligation under international law to prosecute the perpetrators of torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees. The victims are numerous and the perpetrators, including state agents who destroyed evidence of torture, are within reach. Failure to prosecute the culprits, even after such a public confession and shocking justification of cruelty by former President George W. Bush would further weaken the position of the U.S. in human rights discourse both at home and abroad.

As stipulated in article 2(2) of CAT, there is no exception to the law against torture. Freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is a non-derogable right.


  1. One of the fallacies of torture used by the US in Iraq is that it only happened then. If you look at Latin America and the techniques that ruthless dictatorships used back in the cold war years leads to one source: the CIA. The Iraq war was a mistake. If you want to know what happened there read Ernest Hemingways "The moon is down" published in 1943. Bush's legacy will be one that lead to the downfall of the United States as an economic power.

  2. You are doing a wonderful job.It takes courage to make such a beginning against all odds.We feel what effect can it have on the status-quo whenever we see injustice &are motivated to do something. I am glad you ARE doing what is needed How long before it begins to show results ?

  3. @nemoo, the legacy of G.W. Bush screams torture and utter disregard for human life. I hope the good people of the U.S. are not forced to bear the brunt of his poor judgement.

    @Indu, thanks for weighing in and for your words of encouragement. I believe in order to make a difference, we must start from somewhere - no matter how negligible our efforts may seem initially.


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