Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rule of law only when the people making and wielding the laws feel like following them?

Mcjoan has an excellent article up today titled "Finding Justice." I commend it to you.
Here's what we know, based on the public record as represented above. A) Torture is illegal. B) The architects of the torture regime were informed that the "harsh interrogation techniques" they intended to use were torture, and that those methods were unreliable. C) Against that counsel from a military agency, torture was deployed--excessively, and it was used in part to extract information from detainees about ties between al Qaeda and Iraq, ties that the best intelligence the administration had access to had already deemed nonexistent, in order to justify the planned invasion--the chosen war--in Iraq.


Premeditated scandal, engineered so that it would become political and to maximize the difficulty of the reckoning, so that the opposition could be couched as vengeful, as out for "retribution" rather than justice. They played establishment Washington like a fiddle, and so we are here. Actually debating torture as policy and whether activities, which have been deemed war crimes when done by any other nation in any other time, are acceptable when done by us in response to an attack on our soil. FDR must be banging the lid of his coffin in outrage.

Now that the music has stopped, some poor schlubs have to decide what happens now, if they pull away the chairs or just declare the game over. There are a number of options, none of which are mutually exclusive, for proceeding with investigations and possibly even prosecution. Each has advantages and drawbacks from political and legal perspectives. Each, importantly, represents a choice by our country's leaders. The first of those choices is whether or not to recognize that our government is bound by U.S. and international law to investigate potential war crimes.

Assuming that the government chooses to abide by our obligations, follow me below the fold for a consideration of the possibilities.


[If we do nothing] It will have made torture a policy choice that future presidents will feel justified in turning to. Finally, it will mean that we're a country governed by the rule of law only when the people making and wielding the laws feel like following them.

She has followed this issue with intelligence and tenacity and I have relied on her in my posts over the past years.
--the BB


Grandmère Mimi said...

Once the issue of utility or "Does it work?" comes into the discussion, we lose the moral ground and end up in a debate as to whether or not we should torture. Torture is illegal, (not to speak of immoral!) therefore we must not torture, even if it works. We get bogged down talking about the wrong things.

Imagine the same discussion, if it was about lynching. That we have people debating the pros and cons of torture on TV is, in itself, an outrage.

Paul said...

Mimi, I am in complete agreement. We affirm that torture is immoral and unacceptable in all instances. We also note that it is illegal by both U.S. and international law (to which we are a signatory). End of discussion.

Some people may fantasize about whether it works in their sick little brains. It does NOT matter, though, in fact, it does NOT work.

I wish the anchors, interviewers, etc. had the moral compass to say, "You realize, it does not matter whether it works or not."

Eliminating the automobile and freeways would save American lives, but no one is proposing that, now, are they?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, one day, one day, just wait, my head will explode.

Paul said...

Heaven forbid, Mimi. There is plenty to send us sky high, granted, but we need you around to keep the rest of us in line. Nothing like a Southern lady to keep kids in line, right? Grown-ups too.

In the meantime, could you use some of your swamp juju on Faux Noise and Rushbo?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Will do.

The Cunning Runt said...

Why don't they just ask themselves "Who Would Jesus Torture (WWJT?)"

...Oh yeah, Jesus wouldn't torture. My bad.

Anyway, having this conversation AT ALL is unacceptable to me - just PROSECUTE, DAMMIT!!!


Paul said...

I suspect we are viewed by some as charmingly quaint, CR, believing in the law and all that.