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Bush's torture policy hurts our soldiers

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Taking care of the troops under his command is an officer's sacred duty. That duty applies exponentially to a commander-in-chief.

Yet the present commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, has further jeopardized the troops he sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. And he's been taking care – not of the troops, but of his own administration. Mr. Bush should be cited for dereliction of duty.

Dereliction No. 1: Bush's policy on torture hurts our soldiers. Last week, Congress surrendered to Bush's "program" of "alternative interrogation methods" (read: torture). While Bush claimed "We do not torture" last month, his ongoing support for harsh tactics that amount to it heightens the risk that our soldiers will be tortured if taken captive – a distinct and dire likelihood as Iraq deteriorates into civil war and Afghanistan tips back into chaos.

Moreover, torture is immoral, emphatically not an American value, hurtful of our relations with the world, and illegal, as the Supreme Court effectively ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld this June.

Dereliction No. 2: Audaciously, the White House is also pushing changes to the War Crimes Act, the 1996 US law that prosecutes "grave breaches" of the laws of war, such as the Geneva Conventions. Since the revised bill would apply retroactively to 1997, the White House is evidently trying to insulate itself against liability for crimes of war – its use of torture in the war on terror. Sworn to uphold the law, and redirected there by the Supreme Court, this president, on the defensive, calls for a rewrite.

The fallout of these derelictions for our troops? Should they be captured and tortured, their commander-in-chief would have no grounds at all – legal or moral – to protest or to seek justice. This, from a "moral values" president who exhorts us to "support the troops"?


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