If We Only Had A President Who Understands Religion and Government

On Thursday I wrote about George Bush, Christian Crusader and found that there remains Bush worshippers who defended him against charges of being shallow. None actually addressed the main point of the post in which Bush is quoted in once again falling back on religion to justify his decision to go to war.

What if we didn’t have such a shallow President? What if we had a President who both understood religion and understood why religious views must be kept separate from political decisions? The West Wing provided us with a fictional example of this as President Bartlett took on a fundamentalist:


Update: The Republican view from Arnold Vinick

Loopholes In The Torture Ban

I’m far too busy reading Harry Potter to look at this Executive Order which supposedly limits torture very clearly, but have one question. Does it really mean anything if in the small print it excempts Jack Bower? Think Progress looks at the other loop holes.

Update: McClatchy reports:

The order “interprets the meaning and application” to the CIA program of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which set international standards for the treatment of detainees. The CIA program was created to obtain information from “captured al Qaida terrorists who have information on attack plans or the whereabouts of the group’s senior leaders,” White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said in a written statement.

While Bush’s order broadly outlines what the CIA can and cannot do to prisoners, and sets standards for what the agency must provide in terms of food and shelter for detainees, it says nothing about specific controversial interrogation techniques.

Some experts in human-rights law said Bush’s order contains “loopholes” that would allow the CIA to continue using aggressive interrogation techniques that others would consider torture.

“Let’s not forget that the administration’s theory of executive authority is very broad. They reserve the right to interpret laws in ways no one agrees with in emergency situations,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit activist group…

Some civil-liberties experts say Bush’s order may not prevent abuses.

“For example, it prohibits willful and outrageous acts of abuse, but only does so where the purpose is to humiliate and degrade an individual. But if an interrogator says these techniques, whether it’s water-boarding or stress techniques, are done to elicit information, but not humiliate a detainee, they could argue that that would not run afoul of the executive order,” said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer with New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, which has represented detainees held by the United States.

“The same thing goes for acts to denigrate someone’s religion. If you took away someone’s Quran not to denigrate, but as an interrogation technique to gain information — which they’ve done in the past — they could argue it was allowed under the order,” he said.

Sifton of Human Rights Watch said that the CIA program under Bush’s order remains in violation of international law.

“Put torture to the side for a second. The CIA detention program, even if no mistreatment is occurring, is still illegal under international law because it allows incommunicado, indefinite detention. That is enforced disappearance. That exists entirely outside the rule of law,” he said.