Andrew Alexander, political editor of the UK's very conservative Daily Mail newspaper, today has a leader regarding Bush's veto of the bill banning torture and accuses Britain of looking the other way.
We were told that Saddam Hussein was an enemy of mankind because he used torture.Alexander is an old friend of Enoch Powell, an old-style demagogue of the "fear of a brown planet" anti-immigration polemic so beloved of Steyn and others. When even such a fellow extremist won't stand beside the American Right, they should take the hint. But Alexander is correct on this much - if Bush were the president of some tiny African or Asian nation - or some Eastern European balkanised remnant - the talk would be of UN resolutions, of sanctions and perhaps even of humanitarian military intervention. That it isn't is more a testament to American economic and military power than to Bush's moral high ground - and the U.S. Right shouldn't mistake the former for the latter.
Now we witness the gruesome spectacle of President Bush endorsing torture by vetoing the Bill from Congress outlawing "waterboarding" and other equivalently barbaric forms of interrogation.
This must be the first time in modern history that a head of state has openly and officially endorsed torture.
Alongside that, there is reason to believe that the U.S. continues with its secret "extraordinary rendition" flights to take suspects - remember that is all they are - to countries where they apply even more savage torture.
This is an American President who prides himself on his moral sense, a born again Christian who starts the day with prayers and has forsworn alcohol following a very boozy youth. The humbug makes one gasp.
What does he say in his prayers? "Oh Lord, make me a decent human being, but not yet"?
So we have the free world, as we call it, the Western Alliance, the proclaimed centre of civilised values, led by a man endorsing methods applied by Hitler and Stalin. What do we do about it?
The British Government insists it is opposed to all torture and refuses the use of our air space for planes on rendition flights - a rule the CIA has not always obeyed. But our indignation stops there.
We continue to heap fulsome praise on the value of the Anglo-American special relationship which must never be upset.
The Foreign Office will say only that Washington knows our attitude to torture. There has been no protest about Bush's latest move.
Just imagine what our Government would say if Russia, China or India were officially and openly to say they sanctioned torture. Our noisy indignation about human rights would know no bounds.
But in the American case, we do nothing.