'No sooner landed, in his den they found the Triple porter of the Stygian sound, Grim Cerberus, who soon began to rear His crested Snakes, and armed His bristling hair' (Vergil).

President George W. Bush finished a State of the Union address with these words: 'We choose freedom and the dignity of every life'.

The above sentence summarizes why the United States hold up several international treaties in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of human beings. However, the U.S. political class behaviour shows so peculiar features that the doctrine body --which should be conferred as part of a domestic law-- simply transforms in an abstraction the international principles.

Heads or tails

1. (+) The U.S. are signatory of the Geneva Convention. Article Three of the Third Geneva Convention on captives taken in international combat applies to all fighters. Granting prisoner of war status to the captives would have given them the right to disclose only their name, rank and serial number under interrogation, and to go home as soon as the conflict ended.

(-) Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being submitted into a deprivation state, instead.

2. (+) The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (POW) requires that the status of captured persons be determined by a 'competent tribunal' should any doubt arise about whether they are prisoners of war.

(-) President Bush, however, decided himself that the U.S. will apply the Geneva Convention to the captured Taliban fighters, but will not classify them as POW.

3. (+) It is well established that before a tribunal decides about the condition of prisoners, they must be afforded the protections of the Geneva Convention. Such protection includes humane treatment, and the right not to be interrogated or coerced into providing information.

(-) Bush declared his decision will result in 'no change' in the treatment of the 'captives', because they are already generally being treated consistent with the Geneva Convention. In this concerning, the U.S. government is admittedly interrogating the 'captives', and keeping them in small outdoor cages.

4. (+) The U.S. have ratified two other treaties -- the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The former forbids the use of physical or mental coercion for the purpose of getting information, and the latter prohibits compulsion to get someone to confess guilt.

(-) A photograph shows some inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp manacled, blindfolded and on their knees.

Anything else?

1. Manuel Noriega - captured by U.S. troops in 1990 - was formally declared a prisoner of war but this did not prevent him being tried and jailed in the United States for drugs offences.

2. The U.S. government has refused ratify the Kyoto Protocol and disavowed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

3. The United States has voted off the United Nations' Commission on Human Rights.

And what is this like?

Almost every nation should respect both legal and moral obligations. All nations but one, which -- deserving the title of Cerberus -- recurrently sends warning messages to other countries to remind them the concern of who is the strongest.

In this stage of History, both Hercules and Morpheus are not motivated enough to confront the Hades keeper.