January 30, 2010

John Yoo and Jay Bybee are cleared of anything but "poor judgment" in a report that was "softened" by a senior Justice Department official.

Newsweek reveals the findings of the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility:
While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors—Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor—violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) ...

A Justice official declined to explain why David Margolis softened the original finding, but noted that he is a highly respected career lawyer who acted without input from Holder....
So it wasn't a political decision, we're being told. It wasn't that the Obama administration would like  the "torture memo" issue to go away. But consider this new development in the larger context:
For weeks, the right has heckled Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for his plans to try the alleged 9/11 conspirators in New York City and his handling of the Christmas bombing plot suspect. Now the left is going to be upset...
And the 9/11 trial isn't going to be in NYC anymore.

69 comments:

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Hope Margolis has his house in order. The 'roots will be going after him now.

traditionalguy said...

Another spin cycle from the Democrats. First they make up an accusation that has no basis in fact and let it become The Media's Truth because of the strong charges pending during multiple election cycles. Then when it has no more legs because the charge itself is not newsworthy anymore, they quietly release the innocent men that have caused to dangle in the wind for many years and probably go bankrupt paying attorneys while the Democrats used government money to do multi million dollar investigations/leak circuses. But we are told we must condemn private truth tellers as violators of Campaign laws when they want to pay for media time to counter the Circus of PR run for free by the government obeying Media as true scandals originated and paid for by the incumbents.

From Inwood said...

This trial was meant to be red meat to The Anointed One's Loony Liberal Base. A show trial of War Criminals in the Bush "Regime", including, but not limited to, Bush himself, Chaney, Rumsfeld, & yes Yoo & Bybee.

To the point here, Yoo & Bybee were to be faced with a OPR finding of having violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted the 2002 memo approving the use of what would therin be characterized as "Torture" under International Law & under the principles embodied in what a renowned former Constitutional Scholar, thinks about the “unity…We find …in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we are all created equal… gurgle, gurgle.

KSM would be the baby at the Christening, the groom at the Wedding, the Corpse at the wake: necessary for the fun of the guests/spectators.

Rialby said...

Obama is a right-winger!

wv: judis... says it all.

Chef Mojo said...

I'm sure a gobsmacked Andrew Sullivan is wailing, rending garments and drop kicking beagles at this very moment...

rhhardin said...

Voting against Democrats is poor judgment.

Peter V. Bella said...

In the mean time the whole world is laughing at us for washing our national security and intelligence laundry in public.

The Drill SGT said...

Peter V. Bella said...
In the mean time the whole world is laughing at us for washing our national security and intelligence laundry in public.


Our enemies and laughing and taking notes.

our newer friends are regretting the decision to work with us.

our traditional friends are looking on in abject horror.

Icepick said...

I'm sure a gobsmacked Andrew Sullivan is wailing, rending garments and drop kicking beagles at this very moment...

Just so long as he doesn't waterboard them....

Maguro said...

Yawn. The original report was political and the softened report is political as well. Does anyone really believe otherwise? Maybe Ritmo does.

By the way, when will the morally pure Obama administration look into whether Clinton administration lawyers "violated their professional obligations" when they gave the thumbs-up to sending terrorists over to Egypt and Jordan to be tortured for real? I might take this legal/ethical kabuki seriously if that ever happens. As if.

t-man said...

You don't suppose that "senior Justice Department officials" might be increasingly concerned about possible Republican takeover of one or both Houses of Congress, do you?

A partisan witch hunt isn't any fun when the tables may be turned in a few months. And letters from members of the minority party asking questions about DOJ decisions aren't as significant as subpoenas from a Congressional committee.

wv: ovalkin: a chocolately drink for the whole extended family

AllenS said...

Well, at least they'll get the health care issue right. Right?

AJ Lynch said...

The dingo ate Yoo Bybee?

garage mahal said...

Republicans seem to always be in the middle of a witch hunt. It's so unfair.

Big Mike said...

I propose a new tag: Eric Holder is the worst AG in our lifetime.

traditionalguy said...

Garage...Recently the Democrats fair haired candidate for VP and almost President, John Edwards, has found himself in the middle of the results that come from being hunted and caught by a real witch. What goes around comes around.

Maguro said...

Also - Yoo, a law professor!

AllenS said...

Yoo for senator of Massachusettes!

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

The moral sins of Yoo and Bybee pale in comparison to what George W Bush did when he got on national television and said "we don't torture".

Yoo and Bybee were just doing their jobs. You can disagree with their interpretation of the law, but they probably had the best interests of the country at heart.

W., by contrast, wanted to try to make the world believe his lie. He could have just said that he was pursuing enhanced interrogation of enemy combatants when he felt necessary. But he needed to change the common sense definition of words in the same way that the Rightists previously pointed out that Clinton had tried to change the common sense definition of "is".

Now you've got Obama, with the NYC trial issue, putting on the same sort of show for America and the world as Bush did. Of course it is ridiculous!

But since the Right set up the metaphorical stage for Bush to put on his farcical production, they ought not be surprised that the Left decides to hold a performance too.

Michael said...

Three is the number of people subjected to waterboarding. Three.

Maguro said...

Actually, I greatly admire GWB for acknowledging that ordinary civilian law didn't apply to foreign terrorists and developing guidelines that permitted KSM and company to be interrogated legally and humanely. Enhanced interrogation produced intel that disrupted numerous terror plots, saved innocent lives and didn't inflict any permanent harm on KSM or his terrorist cohorts. Not too shabby, IMO.

It would have been far easier and more cynical to farm out the dirty work to third country like Clinton did, to maintain the pretense of "clean hands". Look for Obama to continue this dishonorable tradition.

Peter V. Bella said...

JRH,
All politics is a farcial performance. None of these poltroons are serious. They cannot be. Why are all these so called highly educated, highly intelligent, and highly intellectual people in elected careers? They are too dumb to work anyplace else. No one with any sense would hire them.

So they go to acting school and become political performers. They are the puppets of the parties. The government is nothing more than a tragic Muppet's Show.


wv:gureed=Southern Avarice

Big Mike said...

For you, Michael

And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceedest on to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

Cedarford said...

Julius Ray Hoffman said...
The moral sins of Yoo and Bybee pale in comparison to what George W Bush did when he got on national television and said "we don't torture".


Hard to call it torture when we routinely inflict it on US soldiers going through SERE school and CIA agents.
What goes on in spec ops schools and even summer football camps involves forced endurance of pain unless or until you reach a breaking point. Marines do a 50 mile forced march on full gear while kept awake 48-60 hours. That is "torture" too...

Certain physical therapy and burn treatment is worse than waterboarding....

I guess the progressive Jews, the human rights lawyers, the campus Left, and scream queens like Sullivan, Yglesias, and Barney Frank might have a point if we were treating Islamoid prisoners horrifically, compared to their luxurious care of our guys.

Maybe we should compare....

Oh, wait! We can't! The Islamoids of course don't have any prisoners the Red Cross has checked on...

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Cedarford- Oh, come on! In saying "we don't torture" in such clear and direct language, Bush was counting on us and everyone else in the world using the common sense definition of that term. And, to common sense, water-boarding and all that is torture. How can you justify such manipulative use of words by the President of the United States?

This is one of the big reasons why many Americans cannot trust the Right. If you want to stick to your strange definition of words, Cedarford, then go ahead. But if the politicians on the Right continue to do so, then they are going to inspire nothing but continual public distrust.

traditionalguy said...

The order from Obama to his wholly owned AG Holder to reverse these Stalinist Purges of Bush's men at least temporarily here and in their planned Media Circus at the center of the world media for the poor victimized 9/11 planner, both show that Obama is suddenly running scared. He now wants to return the stolen honor of our country and pretend that it never happened... "why it was that damn Holder who got confused." Let's see what steps backwards he takes next, before he takes his planned steps forward right after the November elections. This weasel is losing his leadership role so fast that he is now trying to co-opt the GOP and become their leader so that he will appear to have a future.

Reliapundit said...

cleared/schmeard - that's not the issue.

the issue is this;

so now attacking the policy differences between one administration and the next is gonna be a legal matter?!?

i thought the election settled which way the country wanted to go foreard!?

using the AG's office to attack the policy-makers of the previous administration is Stalinistic.

like alinsky and his acolytes - who happen to be running the country.

Maguro said...

I don't think anything that Christopher Hitchens would volutarily go through can really be considered torture.

jeff said...

"And, to common sense, water-boarding and all that is torture. "

Ah the old common sense. I assume you are writing your representatives to stop the torture of our trainees in special forces. Why does Obama support the torture of our own people? How can Americans trust him when he upholds such policies?

Alex said...

Real torture:

* pulling out fingernails
* eye gouging
* electricity to genitals
* cutting off fingers
* applying flesh-eating acid

not this pansy bullshit that DemoRATs keep getting hysterical about. Honestly I think we SHOULD be doing REAL torture to jihadi animals.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Reliapundit-

using the AG's office to attack the policy-makers of the previous administration is Stalinistic.

Keep that thought in mind when the Republicans take back control. Do you think they will have any qualms about using the same "Stalinistic" approach? Nah... they'll go right along with it; it's now just another tool in the arsenal.

Fen said...

Actually, I greatly admire GWB for acknowledging that ordinary civilian law didn't apply to foreign terrorists and developing guidelines that permitted KSM and company to be interrogated legally and humanely. Enhanced interrogation produced intel that disrupted numerous terror plots, saved innocent lives and didn't inflict any permanent harm on KSM or his terrorist cohorts. Not too shabby, IMO.

Agreed.


It would have been far easier and more cynical to farm out the dirty work to third country like Clinton did, to maintain the pretense of "clean hands". Look for Obama to continue this dishonorable tradition.

...or just say "the system worked" everytime we get attacked.

Fen said...

And, to common sense, water-boarding and all that is torture.

No it is not.

Even you know this - thats why you chose to appeal to conformity ["anyone with common sense"] to support your assertion.

You're also a hypocrite. You'll righteously rant and rave on the boards about "torture", but when its your city, your life, your family at risk, you'll be begging Obama to waterboard the perp.

jeff said...

"Keep that thought in mind when the Republicans take back control. Do you think they will have any qualms about using the same "Stalinistic" approach? Nah... they'll go right along with it; it's now just another tool in the arsenal."

beats me. I have trouble seeing into the future. Or reading minds.

garage mahal said...

John Edwards didn't really cheat on his wife. It was an "enhanced coupling technique". If you just change the meaning of a word, it becomes much less offensive.

traditionalguy said...

JRH...Saying the GOP does it too is not a defense to anyone using the Stalinist Purge destruction tactic. Holder even resembles the little creep Nickolai Yezhov that Stalin assigned the job of eliminating all of the strong and successful Russian men who had served Russia loyally by using totally made up charges. Stalin had to eliminate any possibility that there could exist another strong man in the government other than Stalin. So they all had to be destroyed. Obama seems to always accidentally go down the Bolshevik's path to tyranny while he whines that his opponents are are stupid to notice what he is doing in plain sight. Well, Joe Wilson spoke up boldly, and Sarah Palin did too. Then Scott Brown mentionned campaigned on that truth, and here we are.

Alex said...

garage- most Americans don't like class warfare and don't despise the wealthy.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Fen-

You're also a hypocrite. You'll righteously rant and rave on the boards about "torture", but when its your city, your life, your family at risk, you'll be begging Obama to waterboard the perp.

Dude, I'm totally FOR torturing enemy uncooperative combatants when we know they are withholding information. We just ought to not try to pretend that we are treating these guys all nice and such.

Just because you call torture "torture" doesn't mean that it must not be done under any circumstances.

Oh wait! I forgot! We are talking about modern American politics where the words you use to describe something are much more important than what you are in fact describing!

My bad. Sorry Fen. I'll try not to offend your delicate linguistic authoritarianism in the future.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@traditionalguy-

I didn't mean that as a defense of Democrats; I meant it as an indictment of both parties. And there is nothing "accidental" about Obama going "down the Bolshevik's path to tyranny". You can't go down that path without intention.

Fen said...

Just because you call torture "torture" doesn't mean that it must not be done under any circumstances.

I don't believe you. You reek of COncern Troll.

Define waterboarding as torture. Provide evidence. And do not confuse it what went on in Japan or Nam, they're not the same thing.

Trooper York said...

"Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall". - (Measure for Measure Act II, Scene I).

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Define waterboarding as torture. Provide evidence. And do not confuse it what went on in Japan or Nam, they're not the same thing.

So you want to ask whether the President of the United States should consider waterboarding to be torture, but you don't want to use the fact that the USA considered waterboarding to be torture in Japan and 'Nam?

Do you really want a government that engages in this sort of redefinition of words? This is just like Geroge Orwell's double-speak!

Besides, Bush didn't care to define his words. He said "we don't torture". The point was to make a certain impression in the audience-- that we were holding a very clear moral line and that we didn't do anything that could even be considered to be torture. He didn't explain himself. He didn't "define torture". He didn't say how we were waterboarding people now and how that was different than what was being done in Japan or 'Nam.

Bush demanded that we stop having questions and just accept "we don't torture" as fact. You obviously did, Fen. Good job! Down the memory hole with the words our government used during Japan and 'Nam...

Lem said...

Whoever said elections dont matter?

Trooper York said...

"Off with his head!" - (King Richard III Act III, Scene IV).

Anton said...

Oh, just shut up with your back-and-forth on what does or does not constitute torture. You all sound so weak-minded and infantile. Who gives a sh*t?

Redirection folks: does anyone know the proper temperature range for successfully cultivating lemon trees?

Cedarford said...

Julius - "And, to common sense, water-boarding and all that is torture. How can you justify such manipulative use of words by the President of the United States?

This is one of the big reasons why many Americans cannot trust the Right. If you want to stick to your strange definition of words, Cedarford, then go ahead."


It is not my "strange definition". What most people think, even Euros and relatives of progressive Jews, human rights lawyers is that "real torture" is something they know when they see it.

And do not think 50-mile forced marches, waterboarding, people biting on boards for hours as burn wounds are debrided, or bleeding maimed people crawling away on stumps of two legs after an Islamoid IED or US Hellfire missile constitute "torture!!!!!".

Life can sure suck sometimes, and part of the sucky part is lots of pain at times from malevolent or impersonal sources.

The Left is attempting to condition us that "anything unpleasant" is Real Torture. Relying on ill-thought Conventions that aaaaanything a prisoner says is unpleasant or personally humiliating is ttttoooooorrrrttttuuuuuure!!

Bush and his legal staff used definition common in law - just not the "Torture Convention". Those things law accepts as aggravating circumstances in crimes - intentional infliction of exruciating pain on a captive that results in permanent grounded in facts physical or mental damage(vs. prisoner claims that a guard dropping their Koran gave them lifetime trauma)

---------
A great late Lefty chant is that we must never treat the enemy different than a US citizen nabbed for jay walking because - well, "WE ARE BETTER THAN THAT! (TM)"

No, we aren't.

Part of being safe is to make others understand that if they do horrible things to us, they face reprisal. Horrible reprisal.

US citizens, outside the Left, understand this is how it has to be, to have deterrance.

The Soviets did not nuke our cities when we had no defense against them because they feared that lawyers with warrants would seek "convictions" in International Court of Soviet leaders if our cities were nuked. They properly feared their cities would be nuked, and we would also try irradiating the leaders w/o trial.

The Crack Emcee said...

Tg,

"First they make up an accusation that has no basis in fact and let it become The Media's Truth because of the strong charges pending during multiple election cycles. Then when it has no more legs because the charge itself is not newsworthy anymore, they quietly release the innocent men that have caused to dangle in the wind for many years and probably go bankrupt paying attorneys while the Democrats used government money to do multi million dollar investigations/leak circuses."

I find it hard to understand why this isn't a crime - a real punishable crime. I've seen this scenerio play out, on the large and small stage, without any consideration for the pain, anguish, and financial cost placed on the accused once their accusers/attackers are done with them.

There's just too many ways for people to be driven broke, good names to be smeared, and liars to get their way in this country.

The Crack Emcee said...

Garage,

"Republicans seem to always be in the middle of a witch hunt."

If that were true I'd be a much happier man.

Cedarford said...

Julius - So you want to ask whether the President of the United States should consider waterboarding to be torture, but you don't want to use the fact that the USA considered waterboarding to be torture in Japan and 'Nam?

1. The Japanese and Vietnamese used "water treatment" not waterboarding. As part of filling someone up with water by a hose forced down their throat and giving exruciating pain, they also partially drowned people. We called the whole process - along with other true torture, part of the package.

2. If waterboarding is torture, do you admit Obama is still torturing his own troops? What would you say if he denies it? (He lies!!) What about other punishing, painful parts of boot camp and Spec Ops schools and CIA candidate training people are forced to endure under Obama The (alleged) Torturer in CHief??

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Cedarford- Suppose I agree with everything you write. Then why did Bush just say "we don't torture" and leave it at that? He didn't explain any of the details that you bring up.

The only conclusion I see is that Bush intended for this word "torture" to be interpreted in the common-sense definition that many Americans have-- and that includes those on the Left who might interpret it "liberally". It seems that Bush intended to deceive the public about his treatment of prisoners, and I think that such deception is a very evil thing for the "leader of the free world" to do.

From Inwood said...

JRH forgot Torquemada & the Spanish Inquisition

This is the umpteenth Althouse torture thread. We are past dictionary definitions. We have progressed to the law of torture.

BTW, may I say that JRH is using "Tortured Logic". When you've lost the language, debate is impossible.

What bothers me more than the EITs is the EMTs --- The Enhanced Morality Techniques.

Repeat after me: a validly elected Administration, charged with keeping the country safe & with the consent of the appropriate members of the minority party is of the opinion that, while Torture is illegal, Waterboarding* not being torture, was not illegal.

*Meaning, of course, the process used by the 21st Century CIA, not that of either the Japanese in WW II or Torquemada.

A country doesn’t have Intelligence Services to dispense “Constitutional due process” & to work from an “innocent ‘til proven guilty” template. Rather they’re there for the sole purpose of “stoping-the-bad-guys-before-harm-is-done-unto-us”.

QED, they should be accorded more flexibility in getting info out of bad guys, a/k/a, terrorists, than the local constable has with domestic crime suspects.

As John Yoo has said:

Under the previous administration [that is, the Bush administration] it was the view of the government and the Justice Department that it was not torture. . . . The problem is that Congress passed a law prohibiting torture, and all it did was say that torture is the intentional infliction of severe physical pain or suffering — that was it. It did not list anything about what qualified as torture and what was not torture. There are some people who think that keeping someone in solitary confinement is torture. The hard thing for a lawyer to figure out was, well, what is inside and what is outside the line?

Re the desire to have a Banana Republic trial against members of the Bush “Regime”, do we go after Slick Willie for his Extraordinary Renditions & do we add all the Dems who approved of the 2002 EITs before they disapproved of them? And, please, we’re talking 2002-04 here. These EITs haven’t been used since then. Like Shakespeare’s Henry V, "in peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility". In the case of a war, a just one, sometimes sensible strong people use techniques that "imitate the actions of the tiger; stiffen up the sinews, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with hard-favor'd rage & Then lend the eye a terrible aspect”.

So, such techniques & the people using them must be judged by the time in which they were used. What was happening then? Would The Anointed One or his current AG have taken the pious position they are now taking? If so, could they have & survived in office? We, as a nation have never, ex post-facto, condemned wartime actions when they’d been officially-sanctioned at the highest levels by members of the major Political Parties. Historians may, academics may, bloggers may, but not future Administrations.

And I don’t want us to confuse information produced from Military Intelligence Gathering with evidence appropriate to be introduced in a Civilian or Military court for purposes of a conviction. EITs are for MI Gathering in situations concerning credible threats to the Country’s security, its continuance as a Nation. EITs are not a technique for a beleaguered constable who can’t find any evidence for a criminal trial.

Let me spell it out for the trolls: none of the info obtained only from the coercive EIT methods described would be allowed as evidence for conviction of the perp in a military court or civilian court trial. Ya see, then it wouldn’t be what we refer to as a trial! And, if a confession or other evidence which the prosecutor intends to use against a defendant in a criminal trial were proven to have been coerced, such defendant does not have a further burden of proving that such coercion amounted to “torture”.

The Law of War hasn’t changed. Just Administrations.

From Inwood said...

And I guess it’s wrong to go to war & kill people without a trial.

And apparently it’s OK to kill people with drones & possibly attack them for their nukes without a trial if you’re the Pres & have a (D) after your name.

I see that in being forced to go back & shorten what I originally wrote to fit the length requirements of this blog, I've repeated some of what C4 has said

Fen said...

So you want to ask whether the President of the United States should consider waterboarding to be torture, but you don't want to use the fact that the USA considered waterboarding to be torture in Japan and 'Nam?

No, I want you to acknowledge that waterbaording as practiced by America is NOT THE SAME as that practiced by Japan and Nam.

Then we could at least be assured that you have some idea of what you are talking about.

Michael McNeil said...

I don't think anything that Christopher Hitchens would volutarily go through can really be considered torture.

Hitchens didn't have himself waterboarded just once, but twice. After the first time he wondered if the severe panic attack he experienced before could be countered by an effort of will, now that he knew what to expect, so he had it done to himself a second time, just to check. Result: nope. Whereupon he concluded: yep, it's torture all right.

To my mind Hitchens' experience proves the exact opposite. Somebody might have themselves tortured according to some technique, not comprehending up front that it really was torture. Nobody (sane) would have themselves really tortured a second time, knowing full well in advance what they're in for. Thus: waterboarding isn't torture.

Flexo said...

Never think that you are going to win an argument with a relativist, especially if you think that reason will have any sway over him.

The relativist rejects the idea of objective truth, whether that truth is transcendent or whether it is positive "truth," such as being defined by a specific statute using specific words and meanings.

Instead, the relativist is a greased-up weasel. Constantly changing the definition of things, constantly moving the goal posts, constantly changing the issue at hand.

You are never going to pin him down. The only truth that he recognizes is his "truth," whatever that might be at that given moment, but which is subject to change in a heartbeat.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem is, and the Democrats know this, is that Republicans really don't do the vengeance thing as well as the Democrats do. But we can always hope, and I, along with a lot of others, hope to see AG Eric Holder as the first witness in Congressional hearings on Justice department corruption and incompetence come next January. Or maybe just politicization.

I think that part of the problem here is that a lot of Democrats had their hearts set on show trials for the evil Bush Administration over the handling of illegal combatants. But they had a lot of problems to overcome. One was that almost everyone involved had some sort of immunity. Indeed, Yoo and Bybee do, which is why the point here was to hurt them through the ethics process, which was hoped to hurt them professionally. And with their memos as cover, it was pretty much impossible to get anyone else for the purported "torture" of those four terrorists.

Part of the problem though is that the memos really weren't black and white unprofessional. If you start out by assuming that anything even remotely painful is torture, or that it must have been legally torture if done by the Bush Administration, then, sure, the memos look questionable. But if you start from the opposite point of view, that those asserted to have been tortured were major players in a war against this country, things look a lot different.

So, I think that one thing that may have been at play here is that, sure, the CA bar may have played along with Yoo (actually, I don't know where he is licensed), but there are plenty of state bars that would take one look at the politicization of this, and start asking questions of the DoJ, and when answers weren't forthcoming, would call this political, and offer law licenses to these guys (if they needed them). And, of course, the big reason to go after Yoo's law license was to go after his tenure. And, likely ditto with Bybee and his lifetime bench appointment.

And, yes, I have read the memos.

Cedarford said...

Julius - The only conclusion I see is that Bush intended for this word "torture" to be interpreted in the common-sense definition that many Americans have-- and that includes those on the Left who might interpret it "liberally". It seems that Bush intended to deceive the public about his treatment of prisoners, and I think that such deception is a very evil thing for the "leader of the free world" to do.

If Obama was asked if he tortures our troops, would you expect him to sincerly answer "yes"? Or naturally say no, because waterboarding SERE candidates, new CIA agents, as well as some very "tortuous" things you see at Marine boot camp do not amount to torture in Obama's mind?

How could Obama be stating a very evil deceptive thing if his opinion was it wasn't torture?

What you are saying Julius, is you buy into the Left's definition of torture so much that you accuse anyone who has a different perspective of lying.

That is very 1984-ish, as Orwell warned. When the Left is so locked into a narrative where only their take on things is the truth - that all who dispute their truth are evil, deceitful liars.

It is a truly classic pitfall of the Left and Communists.

And helps to explain the Red Terror the Jewish Bolsheviks began and Stalin's people adopted. There was only one truth, theirs...and those disputing the truth were evil liars needing punishment.

flenser said...

Republicans seem to always be in the middle of a witch hunt.



Perhaps because Democrats always seem to be looking for witches to burn.

flenser said...

How can you justify such manipulative use of words by the President of the United States?


This is one of the big reasons why many Americans cannot trust the Right. If you want to stick to your strange definition of words, Cedarford, then go ahead. But if the politicians on the Right continue to do so, then they are going to inspire nothing but continual public distrust.




Your concern for the public perception of the GOP is all very nice, but polls show that a majority of Americans support the waterboarding of terrorist suspects to get information.

From Inwood said...

It’s not the “Case Against Terrorism”; it’s The War Against Terrorism.

From Inwood said...

Instapundit asks an intriguing related question:

I wonder what vulnerabilities Obama Administration lawyers face over TARP and bailout-related actions, and whether that had anything to do with the treatment of this issue..

Fen said...

I wonder what vulnerabilities Obama Administration lawyers face over TARP and bailout...

Thats easy: none.

The Democrats don't hold themselves to the same rules they apply to Republicans.

Fen said...

Why has Obama taken Hamas off the terrorist list?

Freder Frederson said...

If Obama was asked if he tortures our troops, would you expect him to sincerly answer "yes"? Or naturally say no, because waterboarding SERE candidates, new CIA agents, as well as some very "tortuous" things you see at Marine boot camp do not amount to torture in Obama's mind?

"So I guess next week's Super Bowl will conclusively demonstrate that deliberately knocking down another person is not battery.

You all have your little pet definitions of torture and have decided, along with Bush, Yoo and Bybee that we don't torture. Of course none of you, including Bush, Yoo and Bybee, bothered to look at the actual treaty and statutory definition of torture. Since I know you won't bother to link to the statutory definitions, I will provide them.

Under 18 USC 2340 torture is defined as:

(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and


In the International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment torture is defined as:

For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. "

So while you may think that torture does not include the infliction of mental distress. It simply ain't so.

Freder Frederson said...

The problem is that Congress passed a law prohibiting torture, and all it did was say that torture is the intentional infliction of severe physical pain or suffering — that was it. It did not list anything about what qualified as torture and what was not torture.

Of course this quote from John Yoo shows that he didn't bother to read the torture statute (which includes mental, not just physical suffering and does list examples) or he is simply lying.

Fen said...

So while you may think that torture does not include the infliction of mental distress. It simply ain't so.

Torture != infliction of mental distress.

Else, we better start rounding up Police Detectives for the ICC.

From Inwood said...

Instapundit 1/31/10:


ROBERT GIBBS OPENS HIS MOUTH AND REMOVES ALL DOUBT:

Gibbs: Accused 9/11 plotter likely to be executed.

“Accused Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is likely to be executed after being tried and convicted, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Sunday.” This statement, from an official White House spokesman, seems a bit indiscreet. Certainly if the goal is to impress the rest of the world with the fairness of our civilian judicial system, official statements that treat conviction and execution as near-certain would seem to undercut the whole point of the exercise.

UPDATE: Power Line: The Holder Hangover — And Whence It Comes.

From Inwood said...

Fred Fred

You are incredibly arrogant. A poseur. As noted, this is the umpteenth Thread on whether we were beastly to the terrorists, er prisoners who are in prison for, oh wait, you forgot.

You, incredibly, repeat your silly claim that none of us have read the “torture” treaty (which is, BTW, a “non-self-executing” treaty &, QED, does not have the force of domestic law) or the US torture statute, rather than the KOS Kid’s summary of them.

Or worse, that Yoo & Bybee didn't read 'em.

Hey, here’s a new buzz word for all you torture mavens. (H/T Commentary) NPR had a program last year on torture, & claimed that waterboarding, as practiced on the three high-level al-Qaeda detainees by the CIA, does produce “negative psychological repercussions,” (NPR = “negative psychological repercussions” Coincidence?)

Since Fred Fred & others try to practice law through dictionary definitions, NPR, psychobabble, & Google, I’m sure there’s a case in some JP court in the Adirondacks, which is now readily retrievable in this “information age”, on kids having caused negative psychological repercussions to a kitten up a tree, in which the JP, a non lawyer, uses the word “torture”. So, please add Kids & kittens to your list in future references.

Oh, & for those who like to see the deeper meaning of it all, my wife (no snarky comments, TY) suggests the classic, “A History of Torture” by George Ridley Scott (1940), a Cambridge historian who “chronicles the use of torture over a period of more than two thousand years. Through wide-ranging research, and with over fifty illustrations, he builds up a picture of the techniques used, the extent to which they were practiced, and the underlying psychology of the act. Scott’s intention is not to titillate but to inform.” “Go for it”, says my wife who’s read it. I thumbed through her copy & read the parts referred to in the index about “water”, like the “cold water ordeal” (illustrated, no less), the “Torture of the [hot] Bath”, the playing of water upon a sensitive body part, & the water on the heads & wet cloth stuff. Scott seems to be against these things.

So where are we? Even people of good heart have become aware, through Loony Leftist sites throwing hissy fits & the MSM, but I repeat myself, of the 21st Century Jarndyce v. Jarndyce US terrorist cases & all good men, OOPS persons, are against torture, tho no one is quite sure what constitutes torture. Details, details,

So we have a vacuum, an anomaly, a barrier to truth & justice &, more important, some obstacles to embarrassing The Bush Regime yet oh once more. And, BTW, now only Dem Kool-Aid Drinkers still believe that the appropriate Dems in Congress were not briefed.

But why can’t we, looking forward, get an amendment which expands the definition of torture to specify this 21st Century CIA waterboarding when we have a supermajority Dem Congress & a Dem President? Oh, it’s the Republican’s obstructionist tactics, with 41 Senators, not the Dems lack of backbone.

So all the country’s peace & justice lawyers will keep on, er, trying, by golly, to fight the case against terrorism, not the war against terrorism.

And the Fred Freds will continue to try to confuse the ignorant.

From Inwood said...

Fen 1/30 11:54PM

Not only that, but the Republicans if they regain control, will not exhibit the irrational exuberance of the Dems in going after those no longer in control.