Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Administration Press Secretary Tony Snow today was quoted as saying that the new DoD compliance with Common Article 3 is "not really a reversal of policy," and insisted that all U.S. detainees have been treated humanely -- which is apparently all that Common Article 3 requires. As I explained below, now that the Administration has lost its four-plus-years' fight to deny the applicability of Common article 3, it's new tactic appears to be to insist that its approved detainee interrogation pracitces have -- what do you know? -- complied with Common Article 3!
Prof. Lederman seems to have it exactly right. The unfortunate part is that it's not a satirical feature in the Georgetown Law Lampoon*, but a perfectly plausible analysis of how this administration (and its piece-of-sh*t, traitor-to-their-profession lawyers) is wont to argue.
Oh, did that parenthetical slip out? My bad.
* Well, there oughta be such a periodical.
Just as the OLC tried to redefine "torture" so that it didn't include certain practices, the administration is now redefining "humanely" to include what most would consider to be patently inhumane treatment. No surprise from the administration that called its clearcutting of forests proposal the "Healthy Forests Initiative."
I think this analysis of the logic is spot on. You can see the same sort of attempt to reduce cognitive dissonance in the following email from an FBI observer at Guantanamo:
"This instruction begs the question of what constitutes ‘abuse.’ We assume this does not include lawful interrogation techniques authorized by Executive Order. We are aware that prior to a revision in policy last week, an Executive Order signed by President Bush authorized the following techniques among others[:] sleep ‘management,’ use of MWDs (military working dogs), ‘stress positions’ such as half squats, ‘environmental manipulation’ such as the use of loud music, sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc. We assume the OGC [Office of General Counsel] instruction does not include the reporting of these authorized interrogation techniques, and that the use of these techniques does not constitute ‘abuse’ [...] there may be a problem if OGC does not clearly define ‘abuse’ and if OGC does not draw a clear line between conduct that is clearly abusive and conduct that, while seemingly harsh, is permissible under applicable Executive Orders and other laws."
Ie, if the President authorized it, it can't be "abuse", so everything's fine.
[Email from REDACTED to M. C. Briese, Gary Bald, T. J. Harrington, Frankie Battle and other redacted parties Re Request for Guidance regarding OGC EC dated 5/19/04, signed [REDACTED], “On scene Commander—Baghdad, at ACLU]
A French law professor use to say at the end of his last class, "beware of logic".
The fundamental flaw with that logic is that the four JAG's have just said on Thursday that some of the techniques authorized and used violated Common Article 3.
All agreed also that violations of Common Article 3 are War Crimes under the War Crimes Act.
So those folks Marty talks about can argue airtight logic but that assumes that symbols are the only realities. They are not and, maybe in a moment of candor, the JAG's have pointed out that war crimes were countenanced and did occur.
That is what the SOB's are in denial about with all their rationalizations - or denial about the fact that they have become their worst enemy.
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