Monday, June 05, 2006

Will America Abandon Goodness?

The Pentagon has omitted a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that bans "humiliating and degrading treatment" in an unpublished revision of the Army Field Manual regarding interrogation. Most of the world is already convinced that the US is torturing detainees. Will this formal change in directive eliminate all doubt? The Pentagon believes that interrogators should be allowed to use harsher methods with detainees than are generally allowed for prisoners of war. If we reduce our standards what treatment can we expect for our soldiers when they are prisoners of war. In the past the US military was required to meet the "spirit and intent" of the Geneva Convention. Now it appears that we are looking for wiggle room within which to expand our definition of acceptable interrogation techniques.

Will America now abandon being Good? Our standard must require absolute Goodness or we are abandoning Goodness altogether. The standards for our conduct should not vary with the application. A detainee is no less human than a prisoner of war. We are no better and can demand no more from others than the worst of our own conduct.

No comments: