The astonishing thing here to me is that torture was not already banned. That coy little phrase ‘in the custody of the U.S. government’ appears though, which may allow ‘extraordinary rendition’ to continue, a.k.a. sending people off to other countries to be tortured by governments with lower standards.
‘No matter how evil or bad they are’ is a problematic phrase for me, because it suggests still the idea ‘but we’ll still think that they deserve it’ is silently added on the end, which doesn’t really encourage good behaviour by all departments involved.
It’s also a little surprising that Bush is still using the phrase ‘war on terror’. Hasn’t he realised what an incredibly stupid phrase that is by now? In particular it is utterly ridiculous considering that Iraq now has more terrorists in it than before Bush started. If you were to attempt to organise a method to ostracise and potentially radicalise large sections of the world’s population then you would go about it just the way that he has, but for some unknown reason he still believes that firstly he is engaged in a war (which by definition is between nations, so why aren’t we invading Terrorismia? Oh, that’s right, it doesn’t exist so no-one can be at war with terrorism) and secondly that he can somehow win a fight in which killing people for their beliefs will most likely make their families feel violently angry.
On a related note, the Patriot Act is in grave danger of disappearing from the law books thanks to suspciously well-timed revelations that hundreds or possibly thousands of people have had their conversations listened to on authorisation of the US president without any court approval. Bush states that he ‘authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations’, but, given the simple fact that he had consistently led his country to believe that there were links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, I can’t help but wonder just how rigourously established these ‘known links’ really are. The strange thing here is that systems exist through which Bush can ask for a secret court hearing to permit electronic surveillance but he has decided to ignore that process and authorise the whole thing himself without any court approval; the result would be exactly the same except that additional safe-guards to protect the rights of individuals would be place, so why is he doing this secretly? I do worry when the leader of the most powerful nation on earth begins to act in ways that appear irrational at best and paranoid at worst.
Article about Bush tapping phones (quote taken from page two).