Torture Double Standard

WASHINGTON - The United States branded China an authoritarian human rights abuser Tuesday, citing alleged torture, state control of basic aspects of daily life, tight controls on religion and harassment of foreign charities.

The report detailed the lengths some Chinese officials have taken to enforce their country's well-known "one child" policy, and gave a chilling account of alleged torture in China, including the use of electric shocks, beatings, shackles, and other forms of abuse. It includes an account of a prisoner strapped to a "tiger bench," a device that forces the legs to bend sometimes until they break. [more]

This is rich. It was only a few days ago that the President of the United States exercised his veto power to make sure that agencies of the U.S. government are able to use "beatings, electric shock, burns, or other forms of physical pain" on, well, anyone they wish. (It is not clear whether we have a tiger bench. If we don't, I'll bet Dick Cheney has it on his Christmas list.) But we don't torture people, they say. Please.

Of course, I am quite sure that whatever the U.S. does is a pale comparison to the Chinese torture machine, both in quality and quantity. The rest of the world will not make that distinction, however. Thanks to the evil acts of the Bush Administration, the U.S. now has no more credibility about these torture and prisoner abuse than Eliot Spitzer does about chastity. This is a legacy that will be with us long after Bush retires to Crawford.

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