It is not too often that I speak on political issues because in general, I don’t feel too strongly about most political issues. One President or Prime Minister has about the same likelihood of screwing over the average man as the next one.
But I read both of these articles in today’s Washington Post:
The first article is an opinion article about Bush’s desire to push through an American re-interpretation of the Geneva convention. This legislation will allow the US to ‘interrogate’ anyone that the US considers a high-value suspect – much like the innocent man that is mentioned in the second article.
This second article is about a Canadian Muslim that was erroneously identified as having an al Quaeda connection by Canadian authorities which was passed on to American officials. On his return from a business trip in the US, he was detained by American authorities and whisked off to one of the CIA torture prisons in Syria. He was kept there for 10 months under the exact program that Bush wants to legislate into permanent existence.
Have I missed the boat here? Am I the only one that thinks that we are going backwards here? Let’s face it… mistakes happen. I think this is clearly seen in the justice system right here in the US and Canada. Let us think about Steven Truscott who was finally cleared of all charges after being in prison for years. Or how about the reports on the Virginian justice system which showed that black suspects had a higher chance of ending up on death row than white suspects. What about those people who have been cleared by DNA testing? Mistakes are costing these people their lives or at the very least their emotional, physical and mental health. I can’t imagine that Mr. Arar survived 10 months of torture without some type of cost that he will carry for the rest of his life.
I think before Mr. Bush thinks about legislating torture, he should consider what a mistake can do to someone identified as a ‘high-value’ suspect. Before we go about saying it is ok to destroy someone’s life, we should take a second to think about what that means. And we should consider what our re-interpretation will mean to other countries who might be more than happy to circumvent the Geneva convention when it suits them. After all, that is what we are trying to do isn’t it?