Date: March 10th., 2005
Sent to but not published in the New York Times

International Standards

Yesterday, the United States took one more step in its rejection of international standards of behavior. The United States withdrew from an Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations that ensures that jailed foreigners have the right to talk to consular officers.

This has two chilling effects, one domestic and one international. On the domestic front it is a direct repudiation of the Supreme Court's reasoning that international standards should apply when considering the applicability of the death penalty. Clearly the Bush administration does not agree.

Internationally it represents just one more repudiation of international law and the wrong insistence that the US is accountable to no one but itself. It follows three similar actions:

We will I fear regret these actions as foreign nations begin to apply our rules to us. The Congress should take steps to pass legislation incorporating the optional protocol on consular relations into United States law. Surely both Democrats and Republicans can agree on the necessity of due process.

This latest action reinforces what I find so despicable about the current administration's actions: it's unwillingness to live by the same rules that it insists that others follow. How sad.