Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kill the Lawyers

The Obama administration has released the memos the preceding administration used to justify it's torture regimen, and not surprisingly they are as ugly as one could expect. The callous disregard for human dignity can really only be appreciated by reading them first hand. The documents are linked to by a number of commentators, including x4mr here. For those interested in more legal analysis, I point you to Glenn Greenwald(here and here) and Anonymous Liberal (here and here).

Greenwald and AL have an exchange of posts discussing the discussing the decision to guarantee no prosecution of the individuals who committed these acts if they relied in "good-faith" on the legal advice provided them. Greenwald makes the case we are obligated to bring them to trial, AL argues as a practical matter any such trial is likely unwinnable, and thus would be counter-effective. From my position, while I understand Greenwald's reasoning and desires, I find myself persuaded to AL's point of view. (And, as has been noted, for those who went beyond what was authorized, or are found to not have acted in"good faith" ... well ... prosecution is too good for them).

However, as AL in particular notes, there is one set of individuals who simply must be prosecuted - the lawyers responsible for creating the flimsy cover which "justified" the abuse, beginning with Jay Bybee and, especially, John Yoo.

Even a cursory reading of the memos makes it clear there was no attempt on the part of the OLC laywers to make a "good-faith" effort to provide well-reasoned, defensible legal advice on the issue. Rather, it's quite obvious the conclusion that torture would be determined to be legal was pre-determined, and the argument would be twisted to support the conclusion - no matter how much that argument had to be tortured in order to make it comply.

The tactics found to be allowable included (from Greenwald) "nudity, "dietary manipulation" involving "minimum caloric intake at commercial weight-loss programs," "corrective techniques" (facial and abdominal slapping), water dousing, "walling," stress positions and "wall standing" (to "induce muscle fatigue and the attendant discomfort"), cramped confinement, and sleep deprivation.", and amazingly in 2005 then OLC chief Steven Bradbury (in one of the memos) affirms the legality of the methods, despite acknowledging the U.S. had termed the use of some of them as "torture" when applied by other nations (Indonesia is mentioned in his memo).

Get Bybee, Yoo, Bradbury, et. al. up on charges and when they are convicted, their punishment should include being subjected to the same regimen of torture they found acceptable when applied to others. After a full cycle completes, we can ask them again about their views regarding the Constitutionality of such actions.

1 comment:

Gayle Greene said...

Good idea! we could start with sleep deprivation, which is known to break victims so effectively that they'll confess to anything. It would be interesting to see how long these bozos would hold up...
Gayle Greene, author of INSOMNIAC