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Liars of the Free World? Britain Can't Trust America

Liars of the Free World? Britain Can't Trust America

Trust, a crucial component of most healthy relationships, has become an elusive ingredient in the transatlantic alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. England's House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee just issued its annual human rights report, which states that America's word can no longer be trusted when it comes to torture and human rights abuses.

The committee recommended the following:

The UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the government does not rely on such assurances in the future. We also recommend that the government should immediately carry out an exhaustive analysis of current US interrogation techniques on the basis of such information as is publicly available or which can be supplied by the US.

This past February, the UK's Foreign Secretary apologized to parliament after records revealed that US planes, carrying terror suspects, twice landed in the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia to refuel, apparently without UK permission. This rendition scandal, as well as the CIA's admission that it used waterboarding, most likely encouraged this decision that could impact whether the UK extradites certain suspects to the US. Does this call to verify US statements signal a significant blight on America's record, or is Britain's double checking no big deal?


Join The Conversation
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Agreed. I remember learning to resolve situations between 10 year olds, and the most important phrase was, "Yes, but what did YOU do?" "Well he called me a name." "Yes, but what did YOU do?" "He kicked me!" "Yes, but what did YOU do?" "Well...I punched him in the face." All we can do is be responsible for ourselves.
stephley stephley 8 years
I thought that the concept of Personal Responsibility requires that we do at least a little bit of soul searching and correction concerning our own behavior, rather than jump to what others may or may not have done. When I was growing up, 'he did it/she did it' as a defense for questionable behavior was never accepted by my parents, my teachers or my church - when did that change?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
two words Glass houses.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I think that every country needs to acknowledge all the "evil things" they've done, but what I'm wondering is if we as Americans can focus on our own faults for more than 1.5 seconds before turning the tables and saying "OH, well what about THEM and what THEY did?" Fair enough nobody's innocent or perfect, but it seems like anytime there's a post vaguely or directly criticizing any aspect of America or American foreign policy, there's always someone quick to jump on the counter-attack wagon.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
I generally don't believe in deceiving friends, so I do have concerns about our behavior regarding those Diego Garcia landings. I may just be my nature, or my personal life experience, but IMO the easy and obvious answer is usually not the best one, even if it's emotionally satisfying. I'd be interested to hear what other countries think is the best way to capture these terrorist planners hiding in other countries. I wonder if they have any better suggestions. If the evidence is there, I can't help thinking a surgical "snatch" might be the cleanest solution. I *would* like to see quicker proceedings, though. A series of solidly-proven convictions might help our credibility, too.
stephley stephley 8 years
"to name an easy and obvious few" you are making a statement that shows bias along with rudeness." Not being biased at all: they are the most obvious people when you talk about U.S. war crimes issues, and for me, the easiest names to recall. It was a comparatively short list, done quickly - felt I needed to let you know that I knew it could be considered incomplete. I'm not talking about who we want to target Laine, or what we might want to debate - my point is is that it may well go beyond our talking about it and become an international issue. I think when you talk about it being a 'new kind of fight' you have to understand, we appear to have already gone off the rails as far as Britain (and Australia) are concerned. That's not going to help anything.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
I have no problem with targeting the actual *offenders* in a case like Abu Ghraib. However, I think it's important to determine where the actual breakdown occurred, otherwise it's impossible to fix the problem. Just naming all the top officials in the current administration is overly simplistic and descends into partisan bickering. We all--all parties, all countries--need to realize that we're fighting an entirely new kind of fight. Therefore, we are pressed to develop new ways to deal with it. I won't insist that all the current tactics are ideal, but ignoring it and pretending it will go away, a la Bill Clinton, is even less productive.
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 8 years
When you make condescending statements like "to name an easy and obvious few" you are making a statement that shows bias along with rudeness. When you make blanket statements and I asked for more information, there is no reason to be rude.
stephley stephley 8 years
Yes, it is just about liberals and conservatives, nothing about right or wrong. In at least three foreign countries, investigators have been at work assembling charges against members of the Bush administration. 26 American civil servants are being tried in absentia by an Italian court in Milan for their involvement in the rendition of a radical Muslim cleric to Egypt. The investigators currently say they doubt anyone would be extradited, but if one of the targets travels to their country, or to a country that cooperates with them legally, they could be held. Considering the number of countries represented in the pool of detainees the U.S. holds, more investigations could be underway or started in the future. Which means the possible subjects would be wise to severely limit their travels Gen. Antonio Taguba who investigated Abu Ghraib, wrote “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” When our own guys say that, it makes the job easier for the other investigators.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
We can gain the trust back, but it'll take time. I'm interested in how GB gets around the evil things they've done, like in Australia and South Africa.
frogandprince frogandprince 8 years
I think it's a serious blight. The United States used to be known as a leader in human rights and treatment of prisoners of war. We have soldiers in so many places that we had to make sure we followed strict rules about how to treat prisoners, and sometimes these rules were better than international standards (like in the Geneva convention). Now our record has been tarnished and even after this war is over it may be impossible to gain trust again.
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 8 years
I understand you have named the liberals most hated list. However, what do you expect Britain to do with their vast legal arm that you seem to imply they have?
stephley stephley 8 years
Cheney, Cheney chief of staff David Addington, frm. Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, Justice Dept memo writers Jay Bybee and John Yoo, frm. DOD general counsel William Haynes, to name an easy and obvious few.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
G.B. is a sovereign nation that has every right to live by their own reasonable set of standards. There are countries that the U.S. does not deal with because of our set of standards so I really don't see a problem. If the U.S. wants cooperation from G.B. on this point we know what must be done.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Stephley ---I didn't know that was you. Stephley and Jude, I agree. Whether we like it or not we need allies. We can’t sh*it on people and expect them to back us up. This is a sad day when the world learns we can’t be trusted.
Lady-Boleyn Lady-Boleyn 8 years
Which members of the Administration are you referring to Stephley?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well said, stephley! And for those who say that whether or not we are liked/trusted by the rest of the world makes no difference to us, the fact that this may well "impact whether the UK extradites certain suspects to the US" should serve as a decent wake-up call.
stephley stephley 8 years
You can't reasonably see it as anything but a blight when a longtime friend calls you a liar. And I hope we have the decency to be ashamed rather than insulted. Certain members of the Bush Administration really do have a lot to worry about legally - Pelosi make have taken impeachment off the table, but people in other countries may not always be so willing to let things they've done slide.
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