It is safe to say that no-one likes a hypocrite, particularly someone that fails to follow their own self-expressed morality and high ethical standards while criticizing others for engaging in the same despicable behavior. Republicans are certainly guilty of hypocrisy on many levels, but it is likely because being a rank hypocrite is a uniquely American trait and defining characteristic of the United States phony human rights advocacy at home and around the world. It is another sign of American exceptionalism that would be a source of national shame for decent people, but sadly, more and more Americans are no longer decent people.
It was announced on Tuesday, and ignored by the mainstream conservative media, that the United States of America co-sponsored a groundbreaking United Nation’s resolution condemning North Korea for human rights abuses and recommended the prosecution of its leaders for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. What the resolution means is that North Korean leaders could be hauled before the International Criminal Court at The Hague for punishment and to provide justice for victims of atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The hypocrisy of this nation co-sponsoring a resolution condemning anyone country for human rights abuses (torture) is beyond the pale. Particularly in light of the recent Senate Intelligence Report verifying what the world has known for several years; America is guilty of committing gross human rights abuses on its own citizens and “suspected terrorists” held in captivity. America has already been called to task for several human rights abuses on its own citizens including allowing racially-motivated law enforcement officers to legally gun down and murder young unarmed African Americans, criminalizing homelessness, withholding food and shelter, and the war crime of torture; exactly what this hypocritical country demands North Korean officials face prosecution for in International Criminal Court.
The American-sponsored resolution is the result of nine months of investigations by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) that concluded North Korea’s leaders could be held responsible for egregious crimes, including widespread killing and torture. The HRC’s 400-page report recommended that the Security Council refer North Korea’s leaders to the International Criminal Court for prosecution calling the gravity and nature of abuses in the country “without parallel in the contemporary world.” The report was compiled before the U.S. Senate Intelligence report on Bush-CIA gross human rights abuses that challenge the assertion that North Korea’s human rights abuses (torture and mass killings) are “without parallel in the contemporary world.”
Although it is common knowledge the Bush administration authorized and approved torture, few Americans will remember that literally over 655,000 innocent civilians were mass-murdered during the unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq. Even before the Senate released its damning report on Bush-directed war crimes and human rights abuses, Americans and the entire world were aware of America’s mistreatment and torture of so-called enemy combatants, “suspected terrorists,” and often innocent Muslims.
Historically, America did not consider torture, including waterboarding, an acceptable and noble practice conservatives are certain is legal. For example, in 1775 Founding Father George Washington said “Should any American be so base and infamous as to injure any prisoner… I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime requires. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to the cause that brings shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.” Conservatives, Republicans, and a majority of religious right evangelicals regard torture as acceptable and, stunningly, a biblical practice.
Beginning in 1943, two years before the end of World War II, the United States charged Japanese military officials for numerous war crimes such as forcing prisoners to stand outside, subjecting prisoners to solitary confinement, and classified waterboarding as torture. In fact, according to several articles cited in the Tokyo Tribunal and UNWCC documents, “the U.S. government defined (less extreme measures than Bush-CIA practices) Japanese practices as gross violations of international law; “The Washington War Crimes office clearly defined waterboarding and solitary confinement as ‘ill-treatment’ and ‘torture.'”
Prosecuting waterboarding as torture in America was not reserved for war criminals as evidenced by the 1983 conviction of four Texas law enforcement officers using “enhanced interrogation” techniques (waterboarding) to secure a confession. The Ronald Reagan Department of Justice prosecuted, and won a 10-year sentence against the sheriff and four years in prison for the deputies. Still, Bush’s Justice Department and national security team claimed that subjecting a person to the near-drowning is not a crime and something Dick Cheney swore he would “do again in a heartbeat” if given the opportunity.
There is no doubt Bush et al admitted torturing prisoners. C.I.A. director John Brennan admitted torturing prisoners in a CIA statement but claimed it was legal because Bush-Cheney. He said, “We made mistakes. Detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques (torture), which the DOJ determined at the time to be lawful and which were duly authorized by the Bush Administration.” The techniques were prohibited by President Obama through an executive order when he took office in January 2009.
According to one the men heading the C.I.A. during the Bush administration, John McLaughlin, “We went to the Department of Justice at least four times to make sure that what we were doing was consistent with the U.S. Constitution. And, on top of that John Durham, one of the toughest professional prosecutors in the Department of Justice, was asked by the Obama Administration to look at this program in detail, which he did, and he came back and said, ‘No prosecutable offenses.'” If that is the case, why then did President Barack Obama issue an executive order when he took office in January 2009 prohibiting the use of torture if the practice was legal? Obviously, torture is not legal, unless the exceptionally hypocritical United States of America is doing the torture.
Ben Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights said official authorization from agencies within the U.S. does not free those who carried out torture from facing justice. “The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.” He added that as a signatory to the U.N. Convention Against Torture, and Article VI, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the United States is legally obligated to prosecute acts of torture. Further, Emmerson said “States are not free to maintain or permit impunity for these grave crimes.”
However, America will not bring criminal charges, or hand over to international courts, anyone involved in authorizing, approving, or executing the Bush-CIA’s torture program. However, America will, and did, co-sponsor a United Nations’ resolution calling for North Koreans to be condemned for human rights abuses and its leaders prosecuted for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court to be punished and provide justice for victims of atrocities, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. If America was really an exceptional nation, it would hand over Bush officials to the International Criminal Court, but America is only exceptional in that as a nation it is, like dirty filthy Republicans and evangelicals praising inhumane torture, above the law and blatantly hypocritical.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.