Bulletin: U.S. Exempts Itself Against Torture Law

Filed in International by on December 13, 2014

With the release of the long awaited report on the use of torture during the Bush/Cheney reign of terror following 9-11, public statements by current elected federal officials and many serving with Bush/Cheney, the United States of America appears to have exempted itself from all domestic and international law prohibiting torture.

The U.S. code 2340, together with numerous international conventions to which the U.S. is a signatory, including those signed in 1948, 1977, 1990 and 1992, specifically prohibits the use of carefully  defined abuses to fellow humans which clearly correspond to the abuses to prisoners held during the Iraq/Af/Pak armed conflicts.

Some of these conventions define the abuses described as War Crimes, when practiced during the Iraq/Af/Pak armed conflicts.

But it appears that our self-description as possessing “Exceptionalism” compared to the other practitioners of torture we have prosecuted over the decades exempts us from these same laws and conventions.  Though apparently American history of such events in which we participated such as the Nuremberg Trials are no longer taught in many of our schools speak volumes about how the nation felt about human rights abuses, many who remember these trials will find the current exemption troubling.

Future generations likely will not see this contradiction or major change in what we once believed differentiated us from many other less moral or ethical societies, as we saw them.  In a way, I guess it is more egalitarian to see ourselves as no more committed to human rights than any other peoples.   Some may see the absence of an American  superiority complex as progress.

We likely will  have to deal with the example our government now sets for us ordinary citizens, some of whom practice physical abuse, terror and violence against fellow citizens.  We’ve tried, convicted and incarcerated hundreds of thousands of such abusers to remove them from society.

What remedies might we seek in the future to protect ourselves from such people?  Especially since our  exempted former leaders now are given prominent  media platforms to explain the rationale for their practice of torture.

These exempted torturers explain their actions this way:  “You have to understand the tone and tenor of our society after suffering the horror of the 9-11 attacks”.  “We were in crisis and the nation was looking to us to find and  stop the perpetrators from attacking us again”.

The perpetrators of human abuse and violence in America can now explain that they were in a crisis situation caused by someone who posed a threat to them and their well being and had no choice but to shoot, stab or maim them.

They will explain that they deserve a break and understanding of their dire situation just as our Bush/Cheney leaders deserve exemption from the rules governing abuse of others.

Given that we consider ourselves a forgiving people, seems reasonable to me.



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  1. Andy says:

    Will those same exemptions be eventually given to domestic law enforcement

  2. stan merriman says:

    It would appear that Florida, Missouri, Ohio and New York have already granted this exemption to law enforcement and quasi- law enforcement people.

  3. bamboozer says:

    Like Citizens United the only real way to ban torture is a constitutional amendment, there are far too many Bush/Cheyney types still out there. As noted several states seem to have no problem with police murdering people right here, and their getting away with it. What will history say? Total condemnation of all involved including the American people as a whole. After all, we let it happen.

  4. Truth Teller says:

    Why did we Go after the grunts in ABU-GHRAIB and Not the Vice President Dick Cheney and these CIA war criminals ?????

  5. Dorian Gray says:

    Because the affluent and connected are held to different standards. I don’t know if you’ve been following the news…