Friday, September 15, 2006

Vague Article III & Interrogations

President Bush stated in his Rose Garden Press Conference a barrier to CIA agents doing their job as interrogators is a vague article in the Geneva Conventions. Were this truly a blockage would it be identified as a problem for the first time five years into the war on terror? No, of course not.

The issue centers on Bush’s not liking the old international interpretation of Article III. He wants to rewrite it using his definitions which significantly lower the bar. Bush blew major smoke when he suggested North Korea’s or Iran’s use of secret evidence to convict and execute American soldiers would be a good thing.

Q Mr. President, critics of your proposed bill on interrogation rules say there's another important test -- these critics include John McCain, who you've mentioned several times this morning -- and that test is this: If a CIA officer, paramilitary or special operations soldier from the United States were captured in Iran or North Korea, and they were roughed up, and those governments said, well, they were interrogated in accordance with our interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, and then they were put on trial and they were convicted based on secret evidence that they were not able to see, how would you react to that, as Commander-in-Chief?

THE PRESIDENT: David, my reaction is, is that if the nations such as those you named, adopted the standards within the Detainee Detention Act, the world would be better. That's my reaction. We're trying to clarify law. We're trying to set high standards, not ambiguous standards….

THE PRESIDENT: And that is the program is not going forward. David, you can give a hypothetical about North Korea, or any other country, the point is that the program is not going to go forward if our professionals do not have clarity in the law. And the best way to provide clarity in the law is to make sure the Detainee Treatment Act is the crux of the law. That's how we define Common Article III, and it sets a good standard for the countries that you just talked about….

THE PRESIDENT: I am saying that I would hope that they would adopt the same standards we adopt; and that by clarifying Article III, we make it stronger, we make it clearer, we make it definite.
And I will tell you again, David, you can ask every hypothetical you want, but the American people have got to know the facts. And the bottom line is simple: If Congress passes a law that does not clarify the rules, if they do not do that, the program is not going forward.

Q This will not endanger U.S. troops, in your --


Q This will not endanger U.S. troops --

THE PRESIDENT: David, next man, please. Thank you. It took you a long time to unravel, and it took you a long time to ask your question.

Who believes this dressed up turkey will fly? Who thinks Bush wouldn’t come undone if Iran convicted a U.S. soldier on secret evidence? The man is a snake oil salesman.

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