<center><h1><a href=http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2004/05/15/rumsfelds_actions_speak_louder?mode=PF>Rumsfeld's actions speak louder</a></h1></center> <blockquote>By Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and Michael Posner | May 15, 2004 SECRETARY OF Defense Donald Rumsfeld's surprise trip to Baghdad is the latest step in the Bush administration's campaign to repair the damage done by the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In condemning these abuses, Rumsfeld has made it clear that they were "inconsistent with our values," contrary to "teachings of the military," and "un-American." But more significant is what Rumsfeld has failed to say and the pledges he hasn't made. Rumsfeld has insisted that US forces are not "torturing" people at Abu Ghraib or elsewhere. The physical and psychological mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners may be abusive, he said, but he would not discuss the legal technicalities of "the torture word." We in the human rights community have debated this point with Pentagon officials for 18 months, stepping up inquiries when The Washington Post quoted US military and intelligence officials bragging about "stress and duress" interrogation techniques in Afghanistan, and about having "taken the gloves off." But there is no technical judgment necessary in evaluating the latest cases in Iraq. The crimes at Abu Ghraib violate the UN's Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. Both of these international agreements establish binding legal obligations that the United States voluntarily undertook decades ago. They reflect the universal moral consensus that certain conduct is abhorrent by any standard. The conduct by US authorities at Abu Ghraib plainly crossed that universally recognized line, and Rumsfeld should say so. Rumsfeld's second failure is his fierce resistance to having legal norms constrain any of the US government's activities in its "war against terrorism." He and other administration officials pay lip service to the "rule of law." But in practice they are ready to observe legal safeguards only if they are consistent with their own chosen ends.</blockquote> And, apparently, any means may be used to achieve this administration's ends even if they are in violation of international law and treaty obligations. <blockquote>In his testimony last week, Rumsfeld declared: "We value human life. We believe in individual freedom and in the rule of law."</blockquote> What blatant and utter hypocrisy. But we should expect no better from Dubbyuh and his cabal of neocon chickenhawks.