When the Offensive Feel Offended

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

When the Offensive Feel Offended

In football, this would be called "piling on." But I do have a few thoughts to add to Zoe's and Eugene's posts about Dick Cheney's remarks last night in which he said he was "offended" by a recent Amnesty International (AI) report criticizing the administration's human rights-challenged record.

Zoe noted that AI's recent report was not the America-bashing report that Cheney suggested it was -- other countries, even Canada, were criticized by AI's report. Eugene reminded us that the Bush-Cheney gang used to take AI's reports quite seriously, citing them when it served the administration's political objectives.

Perhaps the best response to Cheney’s swipe at AI was delivered not last night or this morning, but almost exactly one year ago. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed written on June 1, 2004 (courtesy of The Carpetbagger), Senator John McCain wrote:
Since the abuses at Abu Ghraib have come to light, American leaders at all levels have rightly expressed outrage and contrition. Yet there also exists an undercurrent of sentiment that seeks to fault America's strict adherence to international humanitarian law, and to blame the organizations that monitor its implementation.
Frankly, it’s amazing that our unscrupulous vice president could even make these remarks with a straight face given that his administration’s position — courtesy of White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ infamous 2002 memorandum — is that abuse doesn’t constitute torture unless the “intensity” of pain is of the level that would accompany “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”

Moreover, noting that the federal law codifying the international Torture Convention stipulates that a defendant must have “specific intent to commit the crime,” Gonzales tried to identify another loophole for the Bush-Cheney gang: “…knowledge alone that a particular result is certain to occur does not constitute specific intent.”

So go ahead, Mr. Vice President. Be offended. But I doubt you’re even half as offended by AI’s report as I am by your administration’s disregard for internationally recognized standards of human rights.

Consider showing AI what you think of Cheney’s words. Make a contribution to a group that is willing to call a spade a spade, even if it pisses off our vice president.

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