The world, hell and handbaskets

The world seems a particularly depressing place at the moment.

My opinion of George Bush could hardly get any lower, but I found this BBC News story fascinating and troubling: George W Bush refusing to enforce laws that he disagrees with. It’s a very high level summary but Bush’s note that he “would not necessarily enforce a ban on torture – the McCain amendment – or a ban on the censoring of government scientists’ findings” boggles the mind if accurate.

Likewise this is hardly encouraging for the cause of freedom: US court backs gay marriage ban. History will hardly look kindly on this aspect of US society, one which President Bush, naturally, supports.

Nor is this very heartening: UN body criticises US on rights, which includes the somewhat stunning statement that “earlier this month, the Bush administration announced that all detainees held by the US military, including those at Guantanamo, were to be treated in line with the minimum standards of the Geneva Conventions.” As if there should have been any question.

And if I can do so without coming across in any way as anti-Israeli (which I’m not) I’d like to state the obvious – that the current military action is resulting in many, many civilian deaths on both sides and it’s therefore only common moral decency – not a political statement – to condemn the conflict and call for a cease fire. There must be other, more proportionate, more targeted and ultimately more successful means of securing your long terms aims than bombing civilians, or bombing people whom you know are surrounded by civilians. That goes for both sides, and I can say without hesitation that I’d condemn anyone, including the UK, engaging in this kind of activity. In the past I’ve defended Tony Blair’s motives (if not his methods) over Iraq, but I’m hard pressed in this situation to see his stance as anything other than cynical and morally reprehensible, despite whatever gentle pressure towards the UN he may be exerting on Bush. Naive rant over.

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