Jan Egeland, former Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations, calls in an op-ed article for Norway to reconsider its military engagement i Afghanistan due to president George Bush’s torture veto.
Egeland is incensed that president George Bush used his veto to block a Senate resolution that would have forbidden CIA to apply extreme measures dealing with terror suspects. Bush used his veto on March 8.
Egeland thinks the Norwegian Parliament should discuss whether Norway should partner with an ally that uses torture. The op-ed piece was written for Norway’s newspaper Aftenposten.
As a Norwegian citizen one should be able to expect that Stortinget (parliament) discusses whether we participate in an operation (ISAF) that tramples on our constitution.
While not directly calling for Norwegian withdrawal, Egeland links Norway’s participation in ISAF to the Bush administration’s policy on torture. Egeland states that it is morally untenable to work with an ally who defends torture.
Egeland is currently director of the government-funded think-tank NUPI – Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt.
Norway is run by a center-left coalition. Coalition partner Socialist Left Party is opposed to NATO’s engagement in its current form, but accepts stationing Norwegian troops in the north of Afghanistan as part of government policy. Egeland’s argument – that Norway should link Bush’s torture-policy and ISAF is a novel one.
Egeland’s piece is titled: «Can we have an ally who tortures?»