Veto of torture bill a mistake

In the past couple of months there have been moments of hope and disparagement for human rights violations sanctioned by the United States government. Just last month, the senate passed H.R. 2082, an Intelligence Authorization Bill, that would prevent the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. agents from administering such torture tactics as waterboarding, sexual humiliation, dogs and other methods that equate to ill-treatment of suspected terrorists and detainees.

This was a huge victory for advocates of human rights throughout the United States and yet President Bush denied this victory by vetoing the bill. Not only does this further damage the United States image abroad, but also here at home. If we as a people are to allow such blatant disregard for universal human rights and decency to be allowed, then we are just as bad as these “suspected” terrorists.

Not only are these actions by the administration inhumane, but any confession extracted by these means must be considered questionable because of the intolerable situation these detainees are faced with. While we continue to assert that such torture techniques are winning the war on terror, we are faced with the paradox of also being a “champion of human rights” and a “model” for countries around the world to follow. Even President Bush has asserted vehemently in the past that the U.S. “does not torture” and yet his veto of this bill only further compounds the mistakes of this administration and forces us to view his words as hollow once again.

With a single stroke of his veto pen President Bush blocked this tough anti-torture bill and before the ink even dried, Americans once again were forced to ask the question; who is this president really representing?

Jonathan Wassell

Junior in LAS

Executive Board

Amnesty International 124