October 5, 2007 Leave a comment
It what should surprise absolutely no one who has been paying attention to the immoral regime that is the Bush administration, the White House created a secret memo authorizing torture after saying that they would not torture. The Times had the big story yesterday:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 ? When the Justice Department publicly declared
torture ?abhorrent? in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush
administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly
unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales?s
arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department
issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different
document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive
endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit
authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful
physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated
drowning and frigid temperatures.
This afternoon, the Post is running the headline: “White House: Memo did not authorize torture.” How can that be you ask? Quite simple: though most of us would consider the tactics above at least “cruel” if not “inhumane and degrading” as torture is defined in US law. Glenn Greenwald is on top of this topic better than anybody for my money, so I'll give him the last word in my post:
Much outrage has been provoked by the generally excellent New York Times article this morning
revealing the Bush administration's recent violations of legal
restrictions on the use of torture and other “severe interrogation
techniques.” And, in one sense, the outrage is both understandable and
appropriate. Today's revelations involve the now-familiar, defining
attributes of this administration — claims of limitless presidential
power, operating in total secrecy and with no oversight, breaking of
laws at will, serial misleading of the Congress and the country and,
most of all, the shattering of every previous moral and legal
constraint on our national behavior.
But in another, more important, sense, this story reveals nothing new.
As a country, we've known undeniably for almost two years now that we
have a lawless government and a President who routinely orders our laws
to be violated. His top officials have been repeatedly caught lying
outright to Congress on the most critical questions we face. They have
argued out in the open
that the “constitutional duty” to defend the country means that nothing
– including our “laws” — can limit what the President does.
It has long been known that we are torturing, holding detainees in
secret prisons beyond the reach of law and civilization, sending
detainees to the worst human rights abusers to be tortured, and
subjecting them ourselves to all sorts of treatment which both our own
laws and the treaties to which we are a party plainly prohibit. None of
this is new.
And we have decided, collectively as a country, to do nothing about
that. Quite the contrary, with regard to most of the revelations of
lawbreaking and abuse, our political elite almost in unison has
declared that such behavior is understandable, if not justifiable. And
our elected representatives have chosen to remain largely in the dark
about what was done and, when forced by court rulings or media
revelations to act at all, they have endorsed and legalized this behavior — not investigated, outlawed or punished it.