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Panetta on Obama Rendition Policy:

The AP reports:

The United States will continue to hand foreign detainees over to other countries for questioning, but only with assurances they will not be tortured, Leon Panetta told a Senate committee considering his confirmation as CIA director.

That has long been U.S. policy, but some former prisoners subjected to the process — known as extraordinary rendition_ during the Bush administration's anti-terror war say they were tortured.

"I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta said Friday in his second day before the Senate Intelligence Committee. "I intend to use the State Department to be sure those assurances are implemented and stood by, by those countries." . . .

Panetta said the Obama administration will no longer move detainees to secret CIA prisons for interrogation, because the so-called "black sites" have been ordered closed. But it will move prisoners to other countries for prosecution, he said.

UPDATE: More at Dissenting Justice.

Richard Aubrey (mail):
Insty links to Dissenting Justice who has an extensive history of the subject, including some statements of Panetta not included above.
P will ask for leeway beyond the military limits if necessary.
Just for starters.
Same oh, same oh.
But it's good this time.
Smile, guys. IT'S GOOD.
2.6.2009 8:51pm
MarkField (mail):
Panetta is walking a pretty fine line here. The Bush Administration gave the same assurances and crossed its fingers. I'm pretty skeptical of where this is going.
2.6.2009 10:15pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mark.

No, no. It's GOOD. Obama is POTUS. It's GOOD.
No worries.
Smile. Everybody is watching. You couldn't possibly have been wrong to support O on account of ending torture and so forth.
Smile, dernya, smile.
Or, no. Torture is GOOD, when it's done in the circumstances as defined by O. Or Panetta. Or somebody.
It's GOOD.
2.6.2009 10:18pm
therut (mail):
They are not man enough to do it themselves. They will let others then say "But THEY told us they would not do it!!" All will be forgiven cause they were trying to do what they thought was right and moral and kind and support human rights and make the world love us!! Only code pink will haunt them.
2.6.2009 10:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Smile, guys. With modern dentistry, all you need to do is pull the corners of your mouth back and you look great. It's all GOOD.
You were right all along.
2.6.2009 10:36pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What is it with this thing?
Anyway, sometime about October, I was saying O's supporters were going to have to practice smiling while swallowing. Because things they promised wouldn't happen--gun control--but intended would, would happen. Or things they rubbished Bush for would stop, but they won't.
I have to admit I never thought O' supporters would have to start this soon.
Wow.
2.6.2009 10:38pm
RPT (mail):
It's a good thing Mr. Aubrey is on duty to save this thread. Projecting much?
2.6.2009 10:50pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
RPT.
Projecting what?
Laughing my patootie off.
You guys.
2.6.2009 11:29pm
Just an Observer:
I have watched Panetta's testimony -- today's session here, yesterday's here -- and I find nothing that leads me to believe that this administration will cross the line into torture as the Bush administration did.

The executive orders in place, and all the public statements made by Obama and his subordinates, assure us that the laws against torture will be honored. The ultimate governor on behavior here will be a president and senior lawyers in DOJ who will treat those laws honestly, and in good faith.

I really don't think Panetta opened up any potential loopholes not already self-evident in the executive orders, and those are still subject to the overriding limits of the law.
2.6.2009 11:32pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
JAO also knows how to distinguish between those presidents and senior lawyers in DOJ who "treat these laws honestly, and in good faith", from those who don't.

Democratic presidents and senior lawywers in DOJ speak the truth when they say they are treating "tese laws honestly, and in good faith", while Republican presidents and senior lawyers in DOJ lie when they say they are treating "tese laws honestly, and in good faith".

Because Democratic presidents and senior lawywers in DOJ are good and honest and true, while Republican presidents and senior lawywers in DOJ are bad and dishonest and deceitful.

Q.E.D.
2.7.2009 12:07am
Just an Observer:
Thomas_Holsinger,

My low opinion of the Bush administration's lawyering on these matters does not extend to all Republicans, only those who embrace it. Your inference that Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Yoo, Addington, and their rogue faction are representative of all Republican officials and lawyers is a calumny upon the party and the profession. You should be ashamed to make it.
2.7.2009 12:29am
Kazinski:
Tom,
It's because JAO knows that Obama and his Adminstration have good intentions as opposed to the bad intentions of the Bush Adminstation.

Look at their intentions it is much more important than what they actually do.
2.7.2009 12:33am
Thomas_Holsinger:
JAO also knows how to distinguish between "bad" Republicans and "good" Republicans. The latter agree with him. The former don't.

And it is not necessary for Democrats to agree with him to be "good" Democrats. It is only necessary for them to say they agree with him.

This is why CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta and President Obama are "good". As long as they "say" things that JAO agrees with, it doesn't matter if they actually do exactly the opposite.

Because, for Democrats, what they "say" is important, not what they actually do, whereas for Republicans what they "might" do is important, and not what they actually do. Or say.

This makes perfect sense to hypocrites, who get very, very upset when they are accused of being hypocrites.
2.7.2009 12:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
You should be ashamed to make it.


But his shamelessness has already been established.
2.7.2009 12:48am
Laura S.:
MarkFeld writes:

Panetta is walking a pretty fine line here. The Bush Administration gave the same assurances and crossed its fingers. I'm pretty skeptical of where this is going.


I'm glad to see you write that--because its true. Every indication from these remarks is that Obama is going to be continuing Bush policy. But I'm inclined to the opposite tack. The Bush administration didn't use rendition as a means to torture. With all the rhetoric that's built up over the years, it is easy to forget that the CIA oversea prisons were established to protect detainees from torture by keeping them under US control rather than allowing foreign governments to hold them.

The only bit of scariness is that Obama is backtracking to rendering these detainees to foreign governments for questioning. Clinton era history suggests this is a naive move.
2.7.2009 12:54am
Constantin:
Good for Leon, and Barack. As I've said before, it's probably one of the few things I'll agree with them on.

I'll be hoping for acquittals at their war crimes trials.
2.7.2009 12:55am
Elliot123 (mail):
"The executive orders in place, and all the public statements made by Obama and his subordinates, assure us that the laws against torture will be honored."

"Under insistent questioning from a Senate panel, Mr. Panetta said that in extreme cases, if interrogators were unable to extract critical information from a terrorism suspect, he would seek White House approval for the C.I.A. to use methods that would go beyond those permitted under the new rules."
NYT 2/6/09
2.7.2009 1:04am
Just an Observer:
"Under insistent questioning from a Senate panel, Mr. Panetta said that in extreme cases, if interrogators were unable to extract critical information from a terrorism suspect, he would seek White House approval for the C.I.A. to use methods that would go beyond those permitted under the new rules."
NYT 2/6/09


The "new rules" are the Army field manual. No one -- at least not I or Panetta or Obama -- says this manual by definition exhausts the possibilities of methods that are lawful. All Panetta says is that if he found it necessary and justified, he would ask the president to authorize some additional method. But whatever that hypothetical method might be, he says, it would still have to be lawful. And any technique that is torture, such as waterboarding, is unlawful.
2.7.2009 1:18am
Just an Observer:
Thomas_Holsinger: This is why CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta and President Obama are "good". As long as they "say" things that JAO agrees with, it doesn't matter if they actually do exactly the opposite.

If I find out that Obama and Panetta are lying, and do the opposite, I certainly will condemn them for it. But please excuse me if I do not condemn them based upon your wholly unsubtantiated assertion that they will do so.
2.7.2009 1:23am
LM (mail):
Richard, you're very easily entertained.
2.7.2009 1:31am
Just an Observer:
I should have made clear above: The "new rules" are the Army field manual. No one -- at least not I or Panetta or Obama -- says this manual by definition exhausts the possibilities of methods that are lawful according to such external standards as the Torture Act, the Convention Against Torture, the War Crimes Act and the Geneva Convention. (Of course, the status quo is that the executive orders also have the force of law within their ambit, and I did not mean to imply otherwise.)
2.7.2009 1:32am
BGates:
your wholly unsubtantiated assertion that they will do so.
Obama's a man of his word. He's committed to reducing taxes for 95% of the public, unilaterally renegotiating NAFTA, shutting down government programs that don't work, and ending Bush/Clinton rendition policies. He said so throughout his publicly financed campaign.
2.7.2009 1:37am
BGates:
Obama could no more disown his pledge on ending rendition than he could turn his back on his typical black pastor.
2.7.2009 1:40am
LM (mail):
BGates,

Glad to see you behind the POTUS. I'm sure I speak for most Americans when I say we appreciate the support.
2.7.2009 2:44am
Sarcastro (www):
One must admit it is hilarious to make up what all liberals think and then point out how it's different from what they thought before!

The key is to ignore reality.
2.7.2009 8:21am
Gilbert (mail):
Turning people over for the purposes of prosecution is rendition -- and totally appropriate. Turning people over for the purposes of interrogation is extraordinary rendition, which is what so many people found abhorrent in the Bush administration.

Panetta may have said he was going to continue the former, but the AP article only quotes him as saying the later, and asserts the former. Its a very important distinction that the AP papers over.
2.7.2009 9:20am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Gilbert.
Before they can be prosecuted, they have to be interrogated.
And the famous Egyptian case under Clinton was...what?
Prosecution?
Interrogation?
Guy got beat up pretty good. I think this is the case in which the term "roasted" was used.
2.7.2009 9:28am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Crap.
And, the army manual is a list of things beyond which the Bush admin was not supposed to go.
Now, NOW, we find it is not exhaustive.
Boy, I never saw that coming.
Noop. Never did.
2.7.2009 9:30am
Kilo (mail):
"And the famous Egyptian case under Clinton was...what?"

1. Not an isolated incident.
2. An immediate indicator that if this were not the intended outcome, the program would have stopped there.
3. Easily forgotten.
2.7.2009 9:44am
Bill Kilgore:
Turning people over for the purposes of prosecution is rendition -- and totally appropriate.

Si se puede cambiar.
2.7.2009 10:34am
Just an Observer:
Richard Aubry: And, the army manual is a list of things beyond which the Bush admin was not supposed to go.


Actually, during the Bush administration the manual applied only to the military, not the CIA. Obama has declared, as a matter of executive branch policy, that for now it also applies to other agencies. Obama also said all interrogations must comply with other applicable laws such as the Torture Act, the War Crimes Act, the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Common Article 3.

To say that the particular methods enumerated in the Army field manual does not necessarily exhaust the universe of what might be legal under those other laws is simply to agree with that analytical truism, which Gen. Hayden has articulated. It is hypothetically possible that some other techniques might also not violate those laws, which is the scope of what Panetta was talking about when he anwered a "ticking bomb" hypothetical at his hearing. That also is the scope of what the executive order left open for a task force to review. But it is unambiguously clear that at least one technique, waterboarding, is forbidden because it is torture.
2.7.2009 11:39am
Elliot123 (mail):
"Of course, the status quo is that the executive orders also have the force of law within their ambit, and I did not mean to imply otherwise."

As we have seen in the recent hiring of lobbyists, executive orders aren't worth much. They can be changed or waived as necessary.
2.7.2009 12:05pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Just.

You missed the point. The Bush admin was scorched for going beyond the army manual. Other techniques, legal or not, were not allowed by the critics.
It was as if the critics wanted the unwary to think anything, anything at all, outside the manual was torture.
Now we find that's not the case.
Wow.
2.7.2009 12:05pm
Bill Kilgore:
It was as if the critics wanted the unwary to think anything, anything at all, outside the manual was torture.

To underscore this point, recall that John McCain was regarded as a "torture supporter" because he refused to support the law that insisted that nothing outside the field manual could ever be used.

Too bad he didn't work for this President, his "torture support" is cooool.
2.7.2009 12:23pm
Just an Observer:
Richard Aubrey: It was as if the critics wanted the unwary to think anything, anything at all, outside the manual was torture.

There certainly were, and are, "critics" in the blogosphere who have taken an absolutist position that only the Army manual could ever define what is lawful. But that is not true of all critics. So your generalization about "the critics" becomes a strawman.

The more serious legal position has been that the governing documents are the statutes and treaties, and of course the Constitution. The manual is an administrative, implementing tool, and obviously can be made more restrictive if the president chooses.

If someone argued that anything outside the enumerated list in the manual was, ipso facto, torture, I think that is not a defensible proposition. But I did not understand that to be the analysis of, for example, Marty Lederman, perhaps the most prominent critic of Bush's policies who now will occupy a key slot at OLC.

Obama's initial objective, at the beginning of his adminsitration, was to make a clean break with the tainted Bush precedents. So he eliminated those policies and legal opinions at a stroke, and had to replace them with something immediately. "For now," he said, the Army field manual governs the CIA.

But he left open the possibility of some additinal new regime later -- still constrained by the laws and treaties forbidding torture and associated crimes. Everything Panetta said this week was consistent with that order.

If that process ultimately leads to some regulations for the CIA beyond the enumerated scope of the Army manual -- but still within bounds of the statutes and treaties -- then the subset of "critics" who treat the manual as if it alone could be the applicable canon will be disappointed.

Such disappointment is often the fate of persons who make unsupportable overgeneralizations.
2.7.2009 1:18pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Such disappointment is often the fate of persons who make unsupportable overgeneralizations."

That's the fate Obama is suffering now. During the campaign, he and many of his supporters, made political overgeneralizations which are now failing to withstand scrutiny.
2.7.2009 1:40pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Well when any of you have some actual evidence that the Obama administration has tortured someone, let us know.

Meanwhile, what Republicans think or say about the intentions of Democrats isn't worth worrying about.
2.7.2009 1:51pm
Sarcastro (www):
Hey, no harshing on the conservative buzz, C. Gittings. Liberals are happy about Obama changing torture policy, and Conservatives are amused that Obama might one day torture.

Obama makes everybody happy!
2.7.2009 2:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
C. Gittings.
I expect you will be pleased. The mechanisms by which torture is either reported or alleged will be quiet now that Bush is no longer POTUS.
No evidence, no problem.
It's all GOOD.
2.7.2009 2:29pm
Fury:
Just an Observer:

"But he [Obama] left open the possibility of some additinal new regime later -- still constrained by the laws and treaties forbidding torture and associated crimes. Everything Panetta said this week was consistent with that order.

If that process ultimately leads to some regulations for the CIA beyond the enumerated scope of the Army manual -- but still within bounds of the statutes and treaties -- then the subset of "critics" who treat the manual as if it alone could be the applicable canon will be disappointed."


Doesn't there come a point when any "additional new regime" is effectively inconsequential, as such regime would still be constrained by laws and treaties forbidding torture?
2.7.2009 3:57pm
PC:
JAO also knows how to distinguish between "bad" Republicans and "good" Republicans. The latter agree with him. The former don't.

Would advocating crushing a child's testicles make a Republican good or bad? I mean, it's such tough question to figure out. Would crushing a child's testicles be good? Or would crushing a child's testicles be bad? Who could ever really know?
2.7.2009 4:23pm
Just an Observer:
Fury: Doesn't there come a point when any "additional new regime" is effectively inconsequential, as such regime would still be constrained by laws and treaties forbidding torture?

Yes, that is close to my point. Ultimately it is good-faith compliance with those laws and treaties that matters most, not just compliance with the particulars enumerated in an internal manual.

Of course, it is more conveniently analyzed and verified when the details of what is allowable are public, as they are in the Army manual. That does not make secret methods illegal, it just makes it hard for all of us to confirm to our satifaction that they are legal.

One possible outcome of the task force review might be to say that the CIA is also allowed to do X and Y, where these are defined only generally but the details are kept secret from the public (and enemies) but disclosed to congressional oversight committees. That is something Adm. Blair speculated about at his own confirmation hearing.
2.7.2009 4:41pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Gittings - read the stimulus bill end to end, and then ask your question again:
"Well when any of you have some actual evidence that the Obama administration has tortured someone, let us know."
2.7.2009 4:42pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Would advocating crushing a child's testicles make a Republican good or bad? I mean, it's such tough question to figure out. Would crushing a child's testicles be good? Or would crushing a child's testicles be bad? Who could ever really know?"

That's an interesting thought. How about a thought experiment? We have someone about to release a strain of ebola that targets only African Americans. If we crush the kids testicles, the release will be stopped. If we don't it will happen and the CDC estimates all African Americans will melt.

Would it be good or bad to squeeze the kid, but leave him alive? Would it be good or bad to let all African Americans melt?
2.7.2009 5:12pm
PC:
Elliot123, good thought experiment. Here's another: vampire space zombies are going to invade Earth unless you deliver the blood of 100 babies to the Queen of Atlantis. What do you do?
2.7.2009 5:43pm
Kazinski:
The one thing we know about Obama and Panetta's redition and torture policies: whatever they do there will be an army of Walter Duranty's there to protect them.
2.7.2009 6:16pm
LM (mail):

That's the fate Obama is suffering now. During the campaign, he and many of his supporters, made political overgeneralizations which are now failing to withstand scrutiny.

Nothing over-general about that, huh, Elliot?
2.7.2009 6:18pm
Elliot123 (mail):
No. He made overgeneralizations. Now those overgeneralizations are failing scrutiny.
2.7.2009 7:15pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
It's not GOOD and Panetta is wrong as is Obama if he goes down this path. Panetta is also unfit to serve as CIA director as he does not even know the obeying orders defense is not a defense. The dodge is not a dodge. A politician's promises only bind those who believe them. It is the conduct.
Best,
Ben
2.7.2009 8:02pm
LM (mail):

No. He made overgeneralizations. Now those overgeneralizations are failing scrutiny.

Ipse dixit.
2.7.2009 9:02pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Elliot123, good thought experiment. Here's another: vampire space zombies are going to invade Earth unless you deliver the blood of 100 babies to the Queen of Atlantis. What do you do?"

What is the expected result of the vampire space zombie invasion? How much blood is needed from each baby? What effect will the loss of blood have on the babies? This information is necessary to evaluate the situation.
2.7.2009 9:08pm
Sagar:
If the vampire space zombies are going to shove a trillion dollar plus "stimulus" bill down the collective throat of the US, should we start collecting blood from babies ...
2.8.2009 1:32am
Thomas_Holsinger:
Ben,

Please explain the qualified immunity defense available in 42 U.S.C. 1983 actions against law enforcement personnel.
2.8.2009 2:36am
David Holliday (mail):
If it came down to a choice between mine or a fellow American's life and torturing someone who wants to kill Americans on or off the battlefield, I say torture away. Don't hold back on my account. Here, let me give you these pliers.
2.8.2009 7:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
holsinger:

Please explain the qualified immunity defense available in 42 U.S.C. 1983 actions against law enforcement personnel.


Please explain why you're mentioning Section 1983 (link, link). It provides immunity only from civil action, not criminal action. That's why it's called "Civil action for deprivation of rights."

And aside from that, Section 1983 is part of a law that's about protection of civil rights. It's not about torture. Bringing a claim against you for torturing me does not require me to prove that you violated my civil rights.

I see that distorting the law (either directly or by implication) is a regular practice for you.
2.8.2009 8:47am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Gee, let me add then:

When you have some actualy evidence of the suppression of evidence let me know.

And as for you Mr. Holsinger, your opinions of Obama's economic proposals don't interest me any more than your opinions of the Bush gang's disasterous economic policies.

THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S CRIMES.

They were a gang of depraved, murderous criminals in the same sense that the German Nazis were. You can make all the jokes and blow all the hot air you want, but facts are facts, and I have nothing but contemnpt for anyone who defends or excuses their policies regarding wars of aggression, torture, detention, or due process.

Obama has a god-awful mess on his hands. I happen to think he's a good man with good intentions, but I'm not under any illusions that he's anything other than an imperfect human being just like everyone else is, nor that he can simply wave a magic wand and make everything instantly better after eight years of crimes and systematic institutional subversion by the previous administration.

But this much is certain: he's not a incompetent fool like George Bush, a demented fanatic like Dick Cheney, or a lying, greedy hypocrite like most Republicans.

Get real already: you people lost the election for good reasons.
2.8.2009 3:12pm
LM (mail):
C. Gittings,

I didn't think it could be done, but you managed to make Holsinger seem almost reasonable.
2.8.2009 5:52pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

Oh really... and just exactly what did I say that was so unreasonable?

Facts are facts; the elements of particular crimes are what they are. Equally, thoughtless political prejudice and dishonest spin are not exactly defenses or refutations -- you're just one more apologist blowing smoke from where I sit.

Why do you suppose the Nazis attacked Poland?
2.8.2009 6:32pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

If it came down to a choice between mine or a fellow American's life and torturing someone who wants to kill Americans on or off the battlefield, I say torture away. Don't hold back on my account. Here, let me give you these pliers.

So, we have to destroy our American way of life in order to save it?

Hint: When your position is indistinguishable from the North Vietnamese vis-a-vis John McCain, you may have lost your way.
2.8.2009 7:48pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Tony. Live people can mend their ways.
2.8.2009 8:47pm
LM (mail):
C. Gittings,

So Holsinger and friends are Hitler, you're FDR, and I'm Neville Chamberlain.

Fine. Except, of course, they think you're Stalin, they're Churchill, and I'm Julius Rosenberg.

Who wins?
2.8.2009 8:49pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

Well this much is clear: misrepresenting what someone else says as you're doing here isn't going to win you anything. You're just making your own prejudice, dishonesty, and contempt for others completely obvious. It's old news with you neo-fascists -- SOP. Tyranny is tyranny, murder is murder, lies are lies.

Do you have a serious bone in your body, or are you only capable of blowing snot at people who are more honest and decent than YOU are?
2.8.2009 9:15pm
NickM (mail) (www):
LM - welcome to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. ;-)
As long as certain people are defining it, you'll find about 90% of your fellow Americans in it with you.

Nick
2.8.2009 9:22pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Nick,

Same goes for you, double.

You're just mocking someone who disagrees with your prejudice becasue you don't have any other way to support your irrational views: just another Republican hypocrite.

The sheer dishonesty of you people never ceases to amaze me.
2.8.2009 10:04pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
C. Gittings:
Why do you suppose the Nazis attacked Poland?


To conquer it and kill/subjugate all the non-Aryans. When you uncover a similar motive for OIF, then you can violate Godwin's Law all you like.

You don't have to think Bush = Hitler to think he was wrong, lying, or a b***ard. What do you hope to accomplish by alienating the 90% of Americans who have some understanding of how terrible Hitler and the Nazis were?
2.8.2009 11:01pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"So, we have to destroy our American way of life in order to save it?"

Dying so a terrorist doesn't have to experience sixty seconds of waterboard discomfort is not the American way of life.

Let's have a show of hands. Who would rather die than have a terrorist experience sixty seconds of waterboard discomfort? I would not. Who would?
2.9.2009 12:01am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
Elliot123:
Let's have a show of hands. Who would rather die than have a terrorist experience sixty seconds of waterboard discomfort? I would not. Who would?


This is of course dependent on the efficacy of said waterboarding. Please elaborate on that before creating ticking time bomb scenarios. Taqiyyah applies as much, or as little, to interrogation after waterboarding as to any other interrogation.
2.9.2009 12:21am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
LM:
C. Gittings,

So Holsinger and friends are Hitler, you're FDR, and I'm Neville Chamberlain.

Fine. Except, of course, they think you're Stalin, they're Churchill, and I'm Julius Rosenberg.

Who wins?


And that's a "touche" to all. Switzerland and WWI Belgium are also apt metaphors for positions on the political spectrum, but I don't know which individuals would be referenced in those cases.
2.9.2009 12:27am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Oh that's a brilliant answer Math Mage, but pray tell: why exactly do you suppose they would want to do that?

Was it because they wanted Britain, the USA, and the Soviets to reduce Germany to rubble and ruin by the Spring of 1945?

Or what exactly?

As for OIF, you tell me: what exactly was the motivation for that?

I thought it was a pointless waste of time before it ever got started, and haven't seen anything since that would make me suppose that opinion was incorrect. But unlike you, I'm not a mind reader: I just know trumped up BS when I hear it.
2.9.2009 12:53am
Elliot123 (mail):
"This is of course dependent on the efficacy of said waterboarding. Please elaborate on that before creating ticking time bomb scenarios."

OK. Good point. There are three cases.
1. It is effective.
2. You don't know the efficacy. You guess 50/50.
3. You know it is not effective.

Experience shows very few people will answer a quetsion like this, and many will continually ask questions in order to avoid answering. So, I'll limit my question only to those who can handle it as written. Those who can't are excused.
2.9.2009 11:03am
Elliot123 (mail):
I'd also add that Taqiyyah is simply what we call disinformation. There is nothing special about it.
2.9.2009 11:06am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
PS to Math Mage:

Why telling the truth about George Bush and his gang alienate anyone who has real understanding of anything?

It happens that I am well aware of just how terrible the crimes of the Nazis were -- that why I have so little tolerance for Americans who talk and behave like Nazis.

Or hypocrites who pretend that 1 + 1 = 3 when the answer two might be inconvenient for their political prejudices.

The reality is that the Germans invaded Poland for exactly the same reasons that George Bush invaded Iraq: they thought it was politically advantageous and in the interest of national security. If you have any actual familiarity with the history, you might be aware that they had had some experience with violent socialist conspiracies led by Jews such as Marx, Engles, Lenin, etc. And long simmering ethnic conflicts with Slavs going back centuries. ETC.

I don't have to think their reasons actually justified their crimes in order to suppose that they did in fact have reasons for what they did. And I don't have to suppose anything different about the crimes of George Bush. As if no one was ever mistaken about their reasons for doing things? As if the evidence of the last eight years doesn't show that George Bush was mistaken about virtually everything?

A murderer is a murderer regardless of their excuses.
2.9.2009 11:40am
Elliot123 (mail):
"The reality is that the Germans invaded Poland for exactly the same reasons that George Bush invaded Iraq: they thought it was politically advantageous and in the interest of national security."

So, now everybody is a Nazi?
2.9.2009 1:36pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Eliot,

No: you're misrepresenting what I've said because you're demented liar who thinks murdering people for political purposes is just a good idea, in short, a typical Republican.

That's my guess anyway -- got any more stupid "questions"?
2.9.2009 1:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Elliot.
Guess you've been told.
2.9.2009 2:44pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What is it with this thing?

Anyway, the question of invading another country in pursuit of national security has two questions. If we don't do it, we sit home and suffer whatever we were going to forestall. What if we're wrong about the connection between country X and our national security?
2.9.2009 2:45pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
"A New Rendition of an Old Song

Barack Obama has been president for less than three weeks, and it's sometimes hard to remember how different everything was before change. Example: President Bush's policy of "extraordinary rendition," in which, it is said, terrorists were turned over to foreign intelligence services for interrogation. Legend has it that the foreigners tortured the terrorists.

Technically, this was not Bush's policy exactly. It was instituted by President Clinton. But that just shows how averse Bush was to change. Not only did he refuse to change his own policies, he didn't even change some of his predecessor's policies.

Now, however, everything really has changed, as detailed in this Associated Press report on CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta's confirmation hearing:
The United States will continue to hand foreign detainees over to other countries for questioning, but only with assurances they will not be tortured, Leon Panetta told a Senate committee considering his confirmation as CIA director.

OK, we guess not everything has changed. The U.S. will still do rendition, but the important thing is that now, for the first time, we will demand assurances that they won't be tortured.

Oh, wait:
That has long been U.S. policy, but some former prisoners subjected to the process--known as extraordinary rendition--during the Bush administration's anti-terror war say they were tortured.

Panetta must be toughening the demands for assurance, insisting that foreign governments pinky-swear and that the whole process be witnessed by a notary public, or something like that.

Or not:
"I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta said Friday in his second day before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Hmm, what could it be that the Obama administration is doing differently? Oh, we know!

At least now the U.S. will no longer render terrorists for the purpose of having them tortured.

Uh, guess that's not it either:
Panetta formally retracted a statement he made Thursday that the Bush administration transferred prisoners for the purpose of torture.

"I am not aware of the validity of those claims," he said.

Heraclitus observed that change is the only constant. Finally, that paradox makes sense!"


It's The Same Old Song

the Four Tops

"You're sweet as a honey bee
But like a honey bee stings
You've gone and left my heart in pain
All you left is our favorite song
The one we danced to all night long
It used to bring sweet memories
Of a tender love that used to be

Now it's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone

A sentimental fool am I
to hear a old love song
And wanna cry
But the melody keeps haunting me
Reminding me how in love we used to be
Keep hearing the part that used to touch my heart
Saying together forever
Breaking up never

It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone

Precious memories keep a lingering on
Everytime I hear our favorite song
Now you're gone
Left this emptiness
I only reminisce
The happiness we spent
We used to dance on the music
Make romance through the music

It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone

It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It's the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone"
2.9.2009 3:25pm
LM (mail):
Gittings,

There's a commenter here named "DangerMouse" you should meet. I'm sorry no one else, right or left, seems very interested in the fight you're looking for. We must be an awfully boring disappointment to you.

I'll just add one thing I assume you'll take in the spirit one takes anything from someone "only capable of blowing snot at people who are more honest and decent than [I am]." But I'll say it anyway: The reason no one on the right will engage you is you're their wet dream You confirm everything they want to believe about the left. And the only reason no one on the left will engage you is we* realize there's absolutely nothing we can do to make you shut up and stop discrediting what we believe.


(*That's right. "We." Only somebody whose perceptions are too twisted by rage to see beyond his/her own nose would mistake me for a neo-con or a Republican.)
2.9.2009 4:06pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Richard,

What exactly do you think you forestalled?

Ever think about how much we could forestall by attacking China?

Or how much everyone else could forestall by attacking the US?

Or how many rapes you could prevent in the Deep South by randomly lynching black men to prevent them from getting any ideas about white women?

Or that you could prevent any possibility of foreign terrorism by simply exterminating the entire non-US population of the planet?

I mean gee, that would actually work. On the other hand, some of those folks might be able to fight back effectively, unlike the Iraqis. But then Iraq wasn't about preventing anything, it was just an uncomplicated case of rape. You damned fools make me want to VOMIT.
2.9.2009 4:18pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"No: you're misrepresenting what I've said because you're demented liar who thinks murdering people for political purposes is just a good idea, in short, a typical Republican.

That's my guess anyway -- got any more stupid "questions"?"


Yes. How demented am I?
2.9.2009 4:40pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

Oh balony, and don't patronize me. I just go by what's said, and have yet to see a constructive word from you or any of the others who've been razzing me. Your intellectual bankruptcy, ignorance, and / or moral depravity aren't any problem of mine.

Like get real already: we're talking about torturing and murdering people, and there isn't anything the least bit funny about it.
2.9.2009 4:43pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Elliot, that's a for a shrink to figure out. All I know is that you appear to be very confused.
2.9.2009 4:47pm
LM (mail):
Aubrey, Holsinger and Elliot,

If I could get you guys a valentine, it would be Gittings. Have fun. I don't see a long half-life.
2.9.2009 5:26pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM. Me neither.
Problem is, in these civilized environs, he's a one-off.
Out in the real world, he's everywhere.
2.9.2009 6:44pm
LM (mail):
We must live in different worlds.
2.9.2009 7:29pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Oh listen to you two. What's your "half-life"?
2.9.2009 8:09pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM.
In mine, I pay attention.
2.9.2009 8:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What is it with this thing?
LM. Oncet upon a time, my wife was an adjunct professor. Those parties were pretty neat.
We have some friends whose Christmas letter started out congratulating us all on going for a more humane, communal polity.
Their new year's eve party was a hoot.
Some clown started out by saying, "You voted for Obama." He got real excited.
I mentioned--trolling for fun--that I had enlisted back in the day. A woman snorted, "Enlisted" with contemptuous faux bewilderment.
She didn't ask why. I was going to say, "for the chicks", and when she said there weren't that many women in the service forty years ago, I was going to say, "I was misinformed." and watch her miss it.
But she didn't.
Can't have everything.
2.9.2009 8:24pm
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
LM:
I'm sorry no one else, right or left, seems very interested in the fight you're looking for. We must be an awfully boring disappointment to you.

...But I'll say it anyway: The reason no one on the right will engage you is you're their wet dream You confirm everything they want to believe about the left. And the only reason no one on the left will engage you is we* realize there's absolutely nothing we can do to make you shut up and stop discrediting what we believe.


I'm surprised nobody* called you on this yet.

You take a subset of conservatives radical enough that irrationals like Gittings are their "wet dream," and call them "the right." Meanwhile, you take a subset of liberals centrist/rational enough to see Gittings as an embarrassment, and call them "the left." Then, you divide up the Volokh comment culture into "right" and "left," and say that this is therefore sufficient explanation for the lack of response to Gittings.

Do you see the bias inherent in that chain of reasoning?

There are rational conservative commenters on this blog who realize that Gittings is so far left of any rational standard for liberalism that he's in danger of coming round the other side as a conservative. There may also be irrational liberal commenters for whom Gittings' comments constitute a different sort of wet dream. So please, don't intimate that "the right" somehow finds Gittings more palatable than "the left" due to some sort of confirmation bias regarding liberal stereotypes. Or, if you do, please bring evidence of such.
2.10.2009 12:28am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
*That's technically "nobody except C. Gittings," but his post's contribution is negligible and therefore irrelevant. I meant to put this in the above post.

And those references to "the right" and "the left" in the last paragraph should be in the context of the Volokh commentariat. I didn't make that clear.
2.10.2009 12:32am
LM (mail):
Math_Mage,

You're totally preaching to the choir with that nuanced view of left, right and in between. If you read my comment as suggesting otherwise, it only means I'm a bad writer, not that I disagree. I could tell you how I thought I implied your distinctions, but I'll just take your word for it that my implication was less obvious than I thought.
2.10.2009 1:13am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
LM:
Yah. Meanwhile, rereading, I was a little harsh in my last sentence about "intimating." I meant the tone to be cautionary, not accusatory.
...whoah, consensus! In a comment thread!
2.10.2009 1:50am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Well Mage, there's just one little flaw in your smug little analysis -- I'm completely rational. Your inability or unwillingness to understand what someone else says is not their lack of rationality... And slander is not a description.
2.10.2009 2:22am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
PS: I'd be very interested to hear you state a coherent standard for "liberalism" and "conservatism", how you see yourself fitting into that picture, and what in particular counts as "rational" in any of it.

As for me, I was speaking of crimes, not politics, and there is nothing irrational about it -- it's purely a matter of the facts and the law.
2.10.2009 2:33am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
Look here, Mr. Gittings. You arrive on the thread, immediately violate Godwin's law, refuse to budge from "Bush = Hitler!!!", denounce everyone on the thread as irrational apologists for unjust wars and war crimes irrespective of anyone's actual opinion with respect to the actions of the Bush administration, and insist that you are 100% backed by "facts and the law" even when confronted with the possibility that you are only 99% backed by such...and you're surprised when your rationality is called into question?

Oh, and from a purely scientific perspective, you completely misunderstood the concept of "half-life" (or didn't care enough about what LM wrote to read it properly, which is a distinct possibility given your posting pattern). A relatively inconsequential offense given your general pattern, but it's a pet peeve.

You start from the position is that OIF is equivalent to a tragedy several orders of magnitude worse, and then you bounce back all comments with servings of "moral depravity," "demented liar," comparisons to the KKK, and "got any more stupid questions?" If you don't see any acceptable alternative to everyone immediately dropping their point of view and agreeing with you 150%...why'd you bother commenting at all?
2.10.2009 4:45am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Speaking of half-life.
If I can whip my cardiologist, do I have a pretty good half-life?
Isn't that what it means?
2.10.2009 10:08am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Mage,

Re the half-life remark, it's possible I misunderstood the idiom (feel free to explain), but the tone seemed clear enough.

However, the similarity of the Bush administration's policies and crimes to those of Nazi Germany is just a well documented fact at this point -- and bellowing about Godwin's law merely displays an unwillingness on your part to address such facts objectively. I've investigated the facts, the law, and the excuses for over seven years now -- I'm not talking out of my hat. Your discomfort with my conclusions is your problem, and I've heard all the excuses, CW, and apologies, so I don't have lot of patience with knee-jerk reactions citing Godwin's Law.

Let me quote something for you, the concluding paragraph of the mother of all Yoo memos:

"In both the War Powers Resolution and the Joint Resolution, Congress has recognized the President's authority to use force in circumstances such as those created by the September 11 incidents. Neither statute, however, can place any limits on the President's determinations as to any terrorist threat, the amount of military force to be used in response, or the method, timing, and nature of the response. These decisions, under our Constitution, are for the President alone to make."

John Yoo, THE PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS AND NATIONS SUPPORTING THEM, DOJ Office of Legal Counsel (2001.09.25); available at:

http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/warpowers925.htm

What do you think about that claim?
2.10.2009 2:05pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I've investigated the facts, the law, and the excuses for over seven years now -- I'm not talking out of my hat."

If it's not your hat, then...
2.10.2009 3:05pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Elliot,

Oh, how typical. Same question to you -- and spare me the snot.
2.10.2009 3:18pm
LM (mail):
Gittings,

When you make an argument, you're entitled to a respectful response. When you throw a tantrum, you should expect to be treated like a child. You may speak some language in which Hitler-comparisons and insulting your opponents are part of the former, but at least here, and I'd say most places that aim for a high signal to noise ratio, they're considered the latter.

As a liberal regular reader of this right of center site, I can assure you that some of the most respected commenters here are anti-torture absolutists. (And no, I don't mean myself in either respect.) So don't fool yourself into thinking your less welcoming reception has anything to do with your point of view.

If your purpose is to persuade anyone, shouldn't you conform your argument to the forum? And if your purpose isn't to persuade, but only to vent your spleen, why would you object to being treated accordingly?
2.10.2009 10:37pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

I speak for myself, in my own way, to express my own views. I'm not in the habit of asking permission, and you aren't paying me enough to be my editor.

This is a public forum, and in terms of decorum, I think the ad hominem that's been spat at me is lot more offensive than my mere opinions, which are, after all, merely questions of fact. The problem you're running into here is simple: I'm just telling the truth, and the fact that you don't get that isn't my fault. I haven't said anything I thought was the least bit unreasonable under the circumstances, while on the other side of the coin most of what I've gotten is pure ad hominem bile.

The proof's in the pudding LM: I just asked a very simple and direct question, yet so far it's been ignored entirely.
Do you have an answer? What's your opinion of Yoo's claim?
2.11.2009 12:07am
Math_Mage (mail) (www):
C. Gittings:
Re the half-life remark, it's possible I misunderstood the idiom (feel free to explain), but the tone seemed clear enough.


LM referred to the half-life of the "fun" to be had by right-wing commenters. You responded in a manner that not only confused the subject undergoing exponential decay, but left it unclear as to whether you even understood what a "half-life" is.

I haven't said anything I thought was the least bit unreasonable under the circumstances, while on the other side of the coin most of what I've gotten is pure ad hominem bile.


Need I repeat: "moral depravity," "demented liar," comparisons to the KKK, and "got any more stupid questions?" On some other planet, this may be considered reasonable, but not anywhere I've been.

And yet you say:
I'm just telling the truth, and the fact that you don't get that isn't my fault.


If your truths include reading the hearts, minds, and souls of other VC commenters to determine them black as sin, count me out.

Your discomfort with my conclusions is your problem, and I've heard all the excuses, CW, and apologies, so I don't have lot of patience with knee-jerk reactions citing Godwin's Law.


Of course the knee-jerk reaction is to cite Godwin's Law. You had given other VC commenters no reason to suppose that you had anything other than spittle behind your comparison of Bush to Hitler. You still haven't, Yoo's "You have the power" memo notwithstanding. There's, oh, 12.5 million dead bodies missing. There's no Reichstag fire, no Night of the Long Knives, no SS, no Auschwitz-Birkenau - not unless you equate those to Bush v. Gore, the fired US Attorneys, the CIA, and Guantanamo Bay. And those are some sad comparisons no matter where you stand on the political spectrum. You'd have gotten five times as far, with half the animosity, if you'd simply not mentioned Hitler at all.

Which once again begs the question - are you here to persuade or to shout, to hold a reasoned discussion in the hopes of demonstrating Bush's depravity or to storm about demanding to know why he hasn't been strung up yet? If the former, why are you choosing a position so likely to alienate rather than persuade, and then adamantly defending that position rather than budging an inch? If the latter, why are you even here?
2.11.2009 12:56am
LM (mail):

I just asked a very simple and direct question, yet so far it's been ignored entirely.
Do you have an answer? What's your opinion of Yoo's claim?

I doubt you really want my answer, because it's probably the same as yours (stripped of the hyperbolic comparisons). In other words, there must be some other reason I'm telling you you're behaving like a jerk.
2.11.2009 1:40am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

Well gee, that good example of the sort of thing that really gets me ticked off in short order.

You "doubt I really want an answer"??

Like you're my therapist?

Like you know what I think better than I do?

I asked a VERY simple question that is VERY directly on poiint to this discussion for PRECISELY the reason that I wanted to hear your answer.

Like gee whiz even -- why do YOU ask direct questions?

And you think I'm the one who's acting like a jerk.

There's nothing hyperbolic about any of the comparisons I've made -- all you're doing is dodging the question.
2.11.2009 2:15am
LM (mail):
"I doubt you really want my answer" is figurative, not literal. As in, "You may not like my answer." As in, my answer contradicts your thesis that

The problem you're running into here is simple: I'm just telling the truth, and the fact that you don't get that isn't my fault.

Since I could hardly have a lower opinion of Yoo's memos, "[t]he problem" must be elsewhere.

Like you're my therapist?

There isn't enough money....
2.11.2009 3:42am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

Well fine then -- in that case why don't you simply answer the question?

I infer your answer must be something like "I think he's completely wrong."

The next question is:

"How is the concept of executive power stated in that paragraph different in effect from the practices of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Charles I of England, or the Roman Emperor Caligula?"

The answer being entirely obvious: it isn't different, it's a flat claim of absolute powers.

It's not me who's being unreasonable here.
2.11.2009 9:33am
LM (mail):
There are more things wrong with that than I have time now to list, much less explain. So here's just one major difference between GWB and the people you named. If a judge told GWB, "X is illegal," GWB would end "X." If a judge told any of those other guys, "X is illegal," they would end the judge.
2.11.2009 9:54am
LM (mail):
But yes, I think he's completely wrong.
2.11.2009 9:56am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

Oh really. Guantanamo has been illegal from day one, yet Guantanamo is still operating despite seven years of litigation which hasn't even begun to fully elaborate just how illegal it really is.

Meanwhile, you're saying that if George Bush decided to build a new Auschwitz in total secrecy and start exterminating the entire Muslim and Jewish population of the Middle East, you'd be willing to rely on some random judge here in the United States issuing a court order and George Bush actually obeying it?

I suppose you base this on the fact that the courts have issued a court order stopping the CIA from torturing prisoners?

Oh wait, the court's haven't done that, and they've only just recently begun to consider the issue of alleged torture (very reluctantly, amid endless motions regarding secrecy etc) in the context of discovery and heresay testimony. Meanwhile, Congress tried to rubber stamp some of the crimes by passing the DTA and MCA so that no detainee would have any access to a court of law at all.

An issue which, despite Boumediene, is still being litigated.

Yet even though you agree the claim is completely wrong, you say I'm being unreasonable -- when I know for a fact that the Bush administration spent fully seven years committing crimes that we once executed Nazis for committing, aided and abetted by corrupt lawyers who were willing to issue "legal opinions" stating that ALL of our laws were absolutely inapplicable to anything Bush did, and when Yoo's memo isn't merely "wrong" it's an outrageously fraudulent apology for committing any and all crimes at will. An apology that Republicans will argue is all perfectly legal even today.

Yet you claim I'm being unreasonable. But here's the next question LM:

Are you lawyer?
2.11.2009 11:17am
Elliot123 (mail):
Perhaps it's time for a rousing chorus of Springtime For Hitler And Germany?
2.11.2009 11:28am
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Elliot,

No -- it's time for you to either answer the question I asked Mage or quit wasting my time with your drooling BS.
2.11.2009 12:09pm
Elliot123 (mail):
OK, let's all join in... to the tune of Colonel Bogey March

Göring has only got one ball
Hitler's [are] so very small
Himmler's so very similar
And Goebbels has no balls at all
2.11.2009 1:41pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
Ya, well the sad thing about that Elliot is that the Nazis, for all their depravity and dementia, still had a lot more balls and brains than you Republicans do. They even fought wars against people who could fight back.
2.11.2009 2:13pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Ya, well the sad thing about that Elliot is that the Nazis, for all their depravity and dementia, still had a lot more balls and brains than you Republicans do. They even fought wars against people who could fight back."

Yes... but could they sing as well as Republicans? Come on... let's all join hands in the new Republicans campaign song!

Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya
2.11.2009 3:11pm
LM (mail):
CG,

You're changing the subject. Show me one example of GWB defying the authority of the United States courts.

You may have noticed GWB recently did something else that distinguishes him definitively from the lovely folks you compared him to. He peacefully handed the reins of power to political opponents following a democratic election.

The Hitler/Stalin/Caligula comparisons aren't just unreasonable. They trivialize the many valid, serious criticisms of GWB's presidency.

Yes, I'm a lawyer.
2.11.2009 4:28pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

I already gave you examples: Guantanamo Bay, the DTA and MCA, etc. I have a couple of posts on my own blog that get into some details if you're really interested, see...

* Boumediene and 28 USC 2241(e)(2)

* 18 USC 2441


But it's beside the point anyway -- where's your evidence that Stalin, Hitler, or Caligula ever defied the courts? Or than any of their own very numerous and efficient courts ever tried to prevent or stop their crimes? Or that anything they did actually was a crime under their laws?

After all, they all had lawyers just like David Addington and John Yoo, and judges just like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito, etc. There's no need to defy an institution you can subvert or intimidate. You left out Charles I of England, who was justly executed for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against his own subjects, yet was nevertheless made a saint of the Anglican Church after his son was restored to the throne.

Do you really suppose that Stalin, Hitler, or Caligula couldn't win elections?

As of matter of historical fact, that's how each of them came to power in the first place more or less. Not by direct universal suffrage surely, but then we don't exactly do it that way either, do we?

And none if it matter in the least: a mass murderer is a mass murderer no matter how many people vote for him or think that mass murder is a good idea.

I'm not being unreasonable at all LM: facts are facts.

So you are a lawyer. I'm not myself, though I've spent more time studying law over the last seven years than it takes to get through law school.

Don;t you feel any commitment to the integrity of the legal profession at all?

I don';t see how any lawyer can read that memo and think that John Yoo is fit to either teach or practice law, or that he's anything other than a criminal. The man literally does not believe in law as anything more than a weapon to commit crimes.
2.11.2009 6:34pm
LM (mail):
CG,

But it's beside the point anyway -- where's your evidence that Stalin, Hitler, or Caligula ever defied the courts? Or than any of their own very numerous and efficient courts ever tried to prevent or stop their crimes? Or that anything they did actually was a crime under their laws?

You're making my point. Those weren't exactly independent legal systems, were they? Why would a judge who did object express his objections? He could save everyone a lot of trouble by just shooting himself. Are you under the illusion that any judge in the United States puts his life in danger by telling the president to stop doing something? And I'm still waiting for you to give a single example of GWB defying judicial authority. Not doing something that may be illegal, but defying a court order to stop doing it.

Please, this is just silly.

And facts are facts, but changing the subject isn't argument. The measure of democracy isn't the election that gets the leader you don't like into office. As I alluded, it's the one that gets him out.

I don';t see how any lawyer can read that memo and think that John Yoo is fit to either teach or practice law, or that he's anything other than a criminal.

This is why you're not a lawyer. It takes more than being wrong (legally, factually, strategically, even morally) to be a criminal. Especially when you're taking legal positions that may be consistent with those of at least one SCOTUS Justice.

Don;t you feel any commitment to the integrity of the legal profession at all?

I'm not here to defend myself. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

As for the rest of it, I'm sorry I just don't have the time. And frankly, I don't enjoy being put in the position of defending someone I consider the worst president of my life.
2.11.2009 7:07pm
C. Gittings (mail) (www):
LM,

But thats' just the point: I know what a crime consists of.
The evidence of theses particular crime is completely evident BARD on the Bush administration's own public record, and that particular memo and it's progeny are prima facie evidence. See 18 USC 2441 and 18 USC 371 in particular, among so many other US Statutes they've violated.

All you are really telling me as that you haven't been paying attention and can't be bothered to examine the facts objectively.

You don't have time? Life is too short? It's just all so out-landish?

Gee, there were a lot of Germans who said the same thing about concentration camps, and you pretend I'm unbreasonable all you want but that exactly the sort of cupable indifference to the truth that I've seen froim you and so many others. "We different"

BULLSHIT: you're exactly the same.

And I repeat: elections are entirely beside the point. The man swore an oath to faithfully execute the laws and then set out to deliberately subvert EVERY law in order to commit despicable crimes at will. I don't know what to tell you about the courts except read their briefs in the detainee cases (and I've read all the major ones since 2002) -- their absolute contempt for the courts is just as obvious as the servility of the courts is.

As for you defending Bush, you're only doing that because you want to. It's not clear why, other than you obviously feel threatened in some way. Are you familiar with the IMT Charter?

Here's a quote from Justice Jackson, who served as the chief US delegate to the IMT conference:

"The most serious disagreement, and one on which the United States declined to recede from its position even if it meant the failure of the Conference, concerned the definition of crimes. The Soviet Delegation proposed and until the last meeting pressed a definition which, in our view, had the effect of declaring certain acts crimes only when committed by the Nazis. The United States contended that the criminal character of such acts could not depend on who committed them and that international crimes could only be defined in broad terms applicable to statesmen of any nation guilty of the proscribed conduct. At the final meeting the Soviet qualifications were dropped and agreement was reached on a generic definition acceptable to all."
2.11.2009 7:44pm

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