The NRCAT ran an ad on the New York Times op-ed page (pdf), and released a statement that calls for an independent investigation of the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, overseas CIA prisons, extraordinary rendition, Abu Graib, and Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.
Did I mention that megachurch pastor Dr. Rick Warren signed the statement?
So, why would Tooley criticize an independent investigation of potential human rights abuses, including torture? Because, he says, the NRCAT's statement fails to condemn torture in other countries, like North Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia. He claims that the NRCAT is singling out the United States and the Bush Administration. Says Tooley:
If [the NRCAT] were genuinely interested in torture, of course they would be addressing those regimes that actively and deliberately do practice torture rather than focusing exclusively on the United States.I don't get it. The US Government is the only government that US citizens can directly influence. If the NRCAT doesn't make an explicit call for an end to torture elsewhere, does that mean that the US should continue with its current policies?
What Tooley doesn't seem to realize (either that or he's deliberately dissembling) is that fudging on the issue of torture, however we want to define it, serves only to set a terrible example for North Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia, an example that makes it difficult if not impossible for the US Government to call for an end to torture in those countries. With every word out of Tooley's mouth, we understand more fully the political shackles that constrain his conscience. Too bad he doesn't have the commitment to human rights and democracy that the name of his organization would suggest.