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Hoisted from Comments: Intellectual Garbage Cleanup: Gene Epstein Edition

Fred Hiatt Is a Little Bit Worried

Could Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post finally--six years late--be getting... shrill? To write that "Mr. Bush will go down in history for his embrace of torture and bear responsibility for the enormous damage that has caused" would seem that way.

But Fred Hiatt doesn't have the ovaries to take the next, logical step, does he? Treaties are the "supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." If Fred Hiatt does believe that Bush's embrace of torture has caused enormous damage, his editorial should have ended like this:

Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now.

The Abuse Can Continue - washingtonpost.com: Congress will not -- as President Bush had demanded -- pass legislation that formally reinterprets U.S. compliance with the Geneva Conventions. Nor will the Senate explicitly endorse the administration's use of interrogation techniques that most of the world regards as cruel and inhumane, if not as outright torture.... The bad news is that Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects. He will do so by issuing his own interpretation of the Geneva Conventions in an executive order and by relying on questionable Justice Department opinions that authorize such practices as exposing prisoners to hypothermia and prolonged sleep deprivation. Under the compromise agreed to yesterday, Congress would recognize his authority to take these steps and prevent prisoners from appealing them to U.S. courts....

In short, it's hard to credit the statement by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) yesterday that "there's no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved." In effect, the agreement means that U.S. violations of international human rights law can continue as long as Mr. Bush is president.... America's standing in the world will continue to suffer, as will the fight against terrorism....

Mr. Bush's commitment to "alternative" methods that virtually every senior officer of the U.S. military regards as unreliable, counterproductive and dangerous for Americans who may be captured by hostile governments. Mr. Bush wanted Congress to formally approve these practices and to declare them consistent with the Geneva Conventions. It will not. But it will not stop him either, if the legislation is passed in the form agreed on yesterday. Mr. Bush will go down in history for his embrace of torture and bear responsibility for the enormous damage that has caused.

Too little, too late. Hiatt has been carrying water for Bush for six years, and only now does it dawn on him that he's joined the bad guys.