Poor Saddam

Today, Saddam Hussein is claiming that Americans beat he while he was in their custody. This was in response to the claim by witnesses that his henchmen tortured villagers by pouring molten plastic on their skin and ripping it off.

Of course, I have absolutely no sympathy for Saddam. Part of me hopes he's had his toenails ripped off.

But here comes the torture question again: If the military had a strict ban on torture and beatings in place and had observed it throughout the Iraq war, the world would laugh off Saddam's claim and the ravings of a madman. No more. The administration's permissiveness towards torture has handed Saddam credibility he doesn't deserve.

The torture policy has squandered what has traditionally been our greatest asset: The view, not just amongst ourselves, but amongst the peoples of the world, that Americans abide by the rule of law even when it seems counterproductive to do so.

In other news, it is apparent that even if the president broke the law by not getting warrants for domestic wiretapping, there won't be sufficient public outcry to do anything about it. Personally, I think his refusal to take a simple step which would have rendered the actions legal shows a contempt for the rule of law, but it seems people are comfortable with this sort of thing in the face of the terrorist menace.

That is where the real problem is: As long as people are convinced that we are on the brink of the next great terrorist attack, they'll continue to look the other way when leaders ignore the law--as long as they can justify it by saying they were protecting the public.