Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bush backs down

The Financial Times reports:
The FT has learned that Gordon England, deputy defence secretary, sent a memo to senior defence officials and military officers last Friday, telling them that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions – which prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners and requires certain basic legal rights at trial – would apply to all detainees held in US military custody.

This reverses the policy outlined by President George W. Bush in 2002 when he decided members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban did not qualify for Geneva protections because the war on terrorism had ushered in a “new paradigm…[that] requires new thinking in the law of war”.
Andrew Sullivan opines:
After Hamdan, this is a great moment in a war we can now fight as honorably as the United States has fought every other war since the Geneva protocols were instituted. Much of the military, most of the CIA, almost all the JAGs, the Supreme Court and overwhelming majorities of both Senate and House disagreed with the torture policy. But the White House cabal prevailed. No longer. As far as the military is concerned, America is America again. And this president's brutality has been reined in.


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