Wednesday, December 07, 2005
  The Battle over Torture
Let's start with the fact that I'm totally opposed to torture. Period. It's grotesque. It's inhumane. It doesn't produce reliable results. An all around evil thing to do.

So it was with relief that I read Condolezza Rice's statement:

"As a matter of U.S. policy, the United States' obligations under the CAT (Convention against Torture), which prohibits cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment -- those obligations extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States," Rice told reporters in Ukraine.

This is welcome step forward from the old policy which was we don't torture on US soil, but it leaves some gaping holes. In fact, thes hole are wide enough that it makes me wonder if it isn't just a clever attempt at obfuscation -- sort of a "of course we don't support torture" while taking advantage of any and every ambiguity possible. In particular:

1) What about "extraordinary rendition?" Are we going to continue shipping people to Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc and letting those governments torture them. Sure, we won't do it ourselves, but we'll get someone else to...

2) What about non-US personal on US bases. Do we get some Cubans to handle the ugly stuff at Gitmo and that makes everything is hunky-dory?

3) How exactly do you define cruel and unusual? I'm sure I would have a much more extensive list than the US government. Even the international standards are going to be open to interpretation -- just how loosely or tightly are we going to understand them?


The other thing that makes Condi's announcement a bit suspicious is the timing. Couldn't come at a better time to take the wind our of Senator McCain's sails as he tries to get anti-torture legislation through Congress. The timing alone makes me think this is more a pr move than anything else.
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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