Monday, April 28, 2008


Look—it’s become routine for neocons to claim that it is unfair of us more moral Americans to compare them to Hitlers, Stalins or Maos or to any of the dictators of any regime that, in the past, used torture and which many good American’s, some modern Americans notwithstanding, have always been hateful of, but the facts continue to speak for themselves. It’s not only I or any other living, good American who condemns them, it is our entire American history of the past 100 years and all its greatest spokesmen that condemns torturers and dictators. So, if they can support torturing any enemy that they decide to call an enemy, then, I suppose there is nothing protecting me from their torture, or you yourself when the time comes, that protects all of us from their torture except a common and widespread respect for the laws of humanity that defend anyone the next Bush regime decides to call a criminal.

The following is from a Newsweek article (May 5, 2008) written by Dahlia Lithwick, and as a good humanist might say, may the humane laws of America protect her. Or as one of the torturers might say, may God preserve her soul.

Full and fair trials might have happened for enemy combatants, but missteps have led to a legal process that now exists solely to prove the detentions were justified; that the captives are-as former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld once called them—"the worst of the worst." That's a political conclusion, not a legal one, and it's why Col. Morris Davis—former chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo—resigned last fall, claiming political interference had created the impression of a "rigged process stacked against the accused." Davis later told The Nation that in a conversation with Pentagon general counsel William Haynes in 2005, Haynes told him flatly, "we can't have acquittals. If we've been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We've got to have convictions."

If prisoners were illegally tortured at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, who was responsible? A memo written by John Yoo, a deputy at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2002 to 2003, was declassified this month. He argued that military interrogators could subject suspected terrorists to harsh treatment as long as it didn't cause "death, organ failure or permanent damage."

Yoo's a possible contributions to torture at Guantanamo almost pale in comparison with ABC News's revelations that administration officials, including Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, George Tenet, Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld, met several times in the White House to discuss torture techniques for Al Qaeda suspects. The group signed off on slapping, pushing and waterboarding, in a manner "so detailed ... some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed." Days later, President George W. Bush confirmed he "approved" of these tactics.

Yet despite the fact that senior members of the Bush administration may have violated the War Crimes Act of 1996, the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there is scant serious talk of legal accountability.

Here's a haiku with a spring kigo (seasonal reference):

Winter trucks labor
in the slushy mall streets
with Spring fashions.

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