outrages upon human dignity

what is torture? is strapping a person to a board and holding them underwater until they believe they are drowing torture? is stripping a person naked and attaching electrodes to their genitalia torture? is placing a person in strained physical positions for hours on end, and depriving them of sleep torture?

george w. bush says that the phrase, "outrages upon human dignity" of the geneval conventions is too vague. while i agree that it is vague, as most laws tend to be, i believe these rules can be applied in the most common sense of ways: how would you want your soldiers to be treated as prisoners of war?

take the case of maher arar, a canadian citizen deported by the united states to syria and tortured until he admitted he was a terrorist, that he had trained in afghanistan. the only thing is, he wasn't a terrorist. he had never even been to afghanistan. but i suppose it's hard to think straight when you are being whipped by shredded electrical cables for days on end. heck, if i endured what he endured, i'd have probably admitted anything just to get them to stop. which is usually the case when one is tortured. you just start telling them what you think they want to hear; anything, to get them to stop the pain.

the fact that now the president has the authority to interpret those articles in the geneva conventions is frightening. what then, is the point of the judiciary? this of course opens up "interpretation" of said conventions by other, less benign leaders around the world. one person's idea of torture, can be another person's idea of coercion. where does the line get drawn? is there even a line to draw anymore?

here, jon stewart's daily show effectively runs down the debate on torture and dignity with their trademark wit and humor. watch for the moment of zen, where radio talkshow host laura ingraham tosses her credibility by saying americans are for torture because they like to watch a fictional television show:

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