28 July 2008

Who Can Condemn Torture?

There is a story in The Guardian today reporting on alleged torture of detainees by the Palestinian Authority. According to the report, the PA has detained Hamas supporters (or suspected Hamas supporters) and subjected them to what we in the U.S. Let our government get away with calling 'harsh interrogation techniques,' and then releasing them in exchange for cash or weapons proffered by relatives. I have no reason to disbelieve this account. And, presuming it is true, we should vigorously condemn the PA and its agents.

Here is the question though: Who is "we?" Surely not the U.S. government which sanctions as a matter of policy the same sorts of torture techniques reported here. Surely not our putative allies - like Saudi Arabia or Israel - who both have engaged in torture. Surely not critics of Hamas, who in all likelihood will applaud these efforts. Surely not unofficial right-wing apologists for the policies we've implemented at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, Bagram and various "black sites" around the world. Surely not any of the governments who connived in the renditions and torture we have perpetrated. And, surely not, those who have sat by silently ...

Get the point?

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