White House ignores its own question
By Lee Russ
Wednesday, September 20, 2006 at 05:22 PM
I've mentioned the White House web site's little feature Ask the White House, and how I don't think that all the questions supposedly submitted by the public actually were.
Well, if I'm right that the White House asks as well as answers these little inquiries, then the ask the White House crowd has now failed to answer its own question.
From the Ask the White House feature in which Steven G. Bradbury responds to questions about the debate over the rules for military commissions hearing the cases of terrorism detainees:
Benny, from Tucson, AZ writes:
Why do Colin Powell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Warner and Susan Collins insist that statutory clarification of what "inhumane and degrading treatment," as used in the Detainee Treatment Act, and in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, would cause the "world community" to assume that the U.S. is now taking a position of non-compliance with the Geneva Conventions by "reinterpreting" or "redefining" the conventions. We currently have a Reservation to Article 3 that defines "torture." What is so different about defining "inhumane and degrading treatment?"
Steven G. Bradbury
The Secretary of State has said that she supports the President's recommendation for Congress to define the vague terms of Common Article 3 by reference to the Detainee Treatment Act and our own constitutional principles. Nations are free to give ambiguous treaty terms a good faith interpretation consistent with their own domestic laws and traditions. Congress clearly has authority to do so, and has interpreted many other treaty provisions through implementing statutes like this. The Secretary of State has said that she is confident our international partners will accept our effort to give reasonable and clear meaning to our treaty obligations, as proposed by the President. Indeed, the President believes that giving clarity and definition to Common Article 3's hopelessly vague terms through legislation will actually strengthen our adherence to Common Article 3.
That really answers the question, huh? And Powell etc. believe as they do because.....? Sort of "I'm glad you asked about apples, Benny, because peaches are a really important fruit."
And I'm glad the White House has this little Q&A feature because..........guess I'll have to ask Bradbury.