In America, you are supposed to be innocent of criminal charges until or unless found guilty by a group of your peers. That is, unless you are charged with being a terrorist or a terrorist suspect. In that case, you are treated as guilty and never given a trial or opportunity to prove your innocence. You may be held in prison indefinitely, perhaps forever, without access to counsel and without even being charged of a crime. You, the accused, are punished, perhaps tortured, and perhaps even "disappeared". But, according to President George W. Bush, America is still a bastion of freedom in the world.
According to international law and treaties, not even convicted terrorists can be legally subjected to torture. America has never convicted any terrorists in any courts, but has tortured accused terrorists, potential terrorists, potential acquaintances and relatives of terrorists, potential neighbors of terrorists, potential friends of neighbors of terrorists, potential neighbors of friends of neighbors of terrorists, and anyone who might otherwise look like, appear to be, appear to know, or appear to potentially know a terrorist. In the so-called War on Terror, "Torture for All" and "Denial of All Torture" is the modus operandi of the U.S. government and military under the Bush Administration.
Bush and Rice and Gonzales and Rumsfeld and Cheney and all the Vulcans of the Administration have a most peculiar view of the law. These people think the law is subject to manipulation and interpretation by the Executive. Legal Protections are not applied under any universal view of human rights. Torture is justifiable if it is called by some other word, and torture, according to Bush, is only carried out by terrorists, and not by Americans.
Does all of this extra-legal philosophy and activity actually benefit America in the War on Terror? Absolutely not! It causes more and more benign people to become enraged terrorists, and thus increases the threat to American forces overseas. But all of this torture and illegal detention and denial of human rights does serve a real purpose — it scares the hell out of the American citizenry and makes Americans understand that if they are ever declared to be "terrorists" they will be treated likewise.
America’s torture regime and illegal detention and punishment of the accused, but non-convicted is deliberately used as a threat to dissent in America. It tells potential dissidents that "Uncle Sam may do this to YOU!" and so, as Rumsfeld might say, "You had better mind your p’s and q’s".
You see, this is not about justice or even the rule of law. This is the rule of power, of brute force, of disregard for law. This is the Bush paradigm, and it may come looking for YOU some day. And the Democrats stand firm with Bush on this.