Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nihilogism Watch

Another week, another couple of words get chucked into the nihilogism machine that is the Bush administration. Before long, the much-vaunted "compromise" over terror trials is going to have more asterisks than Barry Bonds' career stats sheet.

Here's the good news:
  • The new bill would reaffirm the United States' commitment to Common Article 3 of the Geneva convention, which prohibits torture*
  • It would specifically prohibit cruel treatment**
  • The infliction of severe physical pain or suffering*** and severe mental pain or suffering**** would be banned
Gosh, with a bill like this, we can't lose! We'll be the darlings of the international community and we'll be able to sleep at night. It's guaranteed*****!

* Except that no prisoner (whether a citizen or not) would be permitted to invoke the Geneva Conventions in a court of law
** The definition of "cruel treatment" is not to include waterboarding, sleep deprivation or many of the other "alternative techniques" practiced by the CIA
*** Suffering that carries a "substantial risk of death", that is. Prohibition not to include beatings or lacerations (or any other frat-boy tomfoolery) that do not cause disfigurement or impair organ function
**** Unless it doesn't do permanent mental damage
***** Not a guarantee
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