Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Career Opportunities in the Torture State (UPDATE)

Astonished and terrified by an unexpected reversal of fortune, three thugs formerly employed by the Gotham City crime boss Gambol suddenly find themselves kneeling on the floor with guns pressed to their heads.

lifeless body of their erstwhile employer is a bloody heap at the feet of his murderer, a leering, disfigured sliver of psychosis calling himself the Joker. Just minutes earlier, Joker had been the subject of murder contract issued by Gambol; now he was prepared to absorb the best and most ruthless elements of mobster's outfit into his own criminal enterprise.

"Our operation is small," Joker explains distractedly as he grabs a cue stick from a pool table and examines it. "There's a lot of potential for aggressive expansion. So, which of you fine gentlemen would like to join our team?"

"Oh -- and there's only one spot open right now," Joker continues, "so we're going to have ... tryouts."

With this, Joker breaks the pool cue over his knee, fashioning one half of it into a large, hardened wooden spike. Tossing the murder implement in front of the three kneeling, desperate henchmen, Joker indifferently instructs them: "Make it fast."

Joker's incentive structure isn't that different from the one employed by the Regime ruling us. There's great potential for expansion; positions are lucrative, but limited in number; the selection process favors those unhindered by moral compunctions about the criminal exercise of lethal violence, albeit generally directed against innocent strangers rather than former or present colleagues.

The genial face of Fuhrerprinzip:
The war criminal Jay Bybee, now a life-tenured federal judge, poses with his disarmingly cute family.

Eight years ago, three insignificant, position-seeking henchmen in the Bush administration were handed the equivalent of the Joker's improvised
punji stick. The White House, at the initiative of Vice President Cheney, had secretly ordered the use of torture against suspected terrorists and other detainees, and it was prepared to reward Justice Department attorneys who could swaddle that criminal enterprise in a suitable cloak of pseudo-legal sophistry.

In this the Bush junta displayed a trait is shared with Josef Stalin's regime, which fastidiously preserved the pretense of legality even as it carried out torture and mass murder. It was the Bush administration's position that the Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted by a panicked Congress immediately following 9-11, authorized the president to do pretty much whatever he wanted to anyone anywhere. But institutionalizing torture -- a policy that would involve serial violations of several laws (including federal statutes, military regulations, the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and various international accords) -- would require at least a pretense of legal justification.

In January 2002, Alberto Gonzalez, whose title was Attorney General but whose actual function was consigliere to the Bush-Cheney criminal syndicate, wrote a memo grandly proclaiming that the "new paradigm" of war renders "obsolete" and "quaint" previous legal restrictions on the abuse of detainees. Gonzalez then gave the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) the task of retrofitting a rationale into the existing policy.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano points out in his invaluable new book
Lies The Government Told You, the OLC "operates as the `constitutional conscience' of the Justice Department. Its job is to exercise independent, objective judgment to make sure the president and the executive branch are working within the law.... OLC lawyers are not private attorneys who put forth their clients' best argument in an adversarial setting. No judge or jury reviews the OLC's opinions. Rather, the OLC is supposed to work as a check on the executive branch, representing a line of defense against unlawful executive activity."

This description assumes something that Judge Napolitano agrees isn't substantiated by the available evidence -- namely, that officials employed at the OLC would act on behalf of the Constitution, rather than in the interests of their own ambitions.

Jay Bybee, assistant attorney general for the OLC, had made it clear to Gonzalez that he wanted to be a federal judge.
A Washington Post profile of Bybee notes that Gonzalez, who dangled before Bybee the prospect of an appointment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asked if he would "be willing to take a position at the OLC first" (emphasis added).

In light of what Bybee would later describe as severe pressure to produce a pro-torture brief for the White House, that reported conversation is compelling evidence of a corrupt quid-pro-quo. Gonzalez's meaning couldn't have been clearer if he had thrown Bybee a sharpened stake and told him to "make it quick."

John Yoo, the subordinate who did most of the scut work in composing the memoranda signed by Bybee, had his own ambitions. As Harper's legal analyst Scott Horton points out, Yoo "clearly aspired to become Bybee's successor."

The title of assistant attorney general, while all but unknown to the public, "is a marquee position usually opening doors to partnership at major law firms, judgeships, or still higher government offices," Horton writes. "Yoo was open about his goals, and he mobilized major resources to obtain them -- including his `clients,' [vice presidential chief of staff] David Addington and Dick Cheney."

At this point it's important to recall Judge Napolitano's point that the OLC is supposed to restrain executive power, rather than to facilitate corrupt exercise of the same. Yet Yoo -- as he has subsequently admitted -- composed legal briefs that served the interest of his superiors (and his own ambitions), rather than designed to state clearly what the law permitted them to do.

Three years later, as the Bush regime continued to refine its rationales for torture, the OLC was under the direction of Steven G. Bradbury, who was given the title of "acting" assistant attorney general. He wasn't formally confirmed to that position -- which was the object of Yoo's incontinent desires -- until July 2005. There is primary source evidence that his formal nomination was withheld as a way to extract a pro-torture brief the White House would find satisfactory.

An April 27, 2005 e-mail from deputy attorney general James Comey expressed concerns over drafts
of memoranda dealing with "specific interrogation techniques," including some that involved "severe physical suffering."

"The AG [Attorney General] explained that he was under great pressure from the Vice President to complete both memos," wrote Comey, who observed in a parenthetical comment that "Steve [Bradbury] was getting similar pressure from Harriet Miers and David Addington to produce the opinions.... [I] have previously expressed my worry that
having Steve as `Acting' -- and wanting the job -- would make him susceptible to just this kind of pressure...."(Emphasis added.)

Comey's concerns were justified, given that "almost immediately after Bradbury produced the [pro-torture] memo, the White House okayed his name going forward for the appointment as an assistant attorney general," writes Horton.

"The evidence therefore supports the case for a quid pro quo scheme in which Bybee, Yoo, and Bradbury were offered powerful government preferments (in Bybee's case, a life-time judgeship) in exchange for rendering the opinions," Horton continues.

Corruption of this kind has been prosecuted by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section on numerous occasions. Despite the fact that Yoo never got the position he desired, both he and Bradbury could -- and probably should -- be prosecuted under bribery statutes. Furthermore, bribery is
specifically listed in Article II, section 4 of the U.S. Constitution as an impeachable offense.

In crafting a legal framework to institutionalize torture, "the OLC under Jay Bybee took the advice of those who asked for its advice," Judge Napolitano summarizes. That is to say, Bybee and Yoo -- as Bradbury would later do -- ratified an illegal policy, thereby corruptly exercising public power in anticipation of personal benefit.

For the purpose of criminal prosecution it doesn't matter that Yoo's desires weren't consummated. Nor does it matter that the desired payoff for both Yoo consisted of a relatively obscure but powerful government job, rather than cash, sexual favors, or some other vulgar emolument.

Their willingness to prostitute themselves by institutionalizing torture brings to mind the disgusted astonishment exhibited by the dramatized Thomas More as he learns of the price Richard Rich placed on the perjury that eventually cost More his head: "Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the world -- but for Wales?"

The Obama administration,
as the principled and vigilant Glenn Greenwald tirelessly documents,
has distinguished itself by its lack of zeal to investigate Yoo, Bradbury, and others implicated in the Bush administration's war crimes. Although he's much more low-key in his approach, the urbane and erudite Obama is just as devoted to the advancement of Fuhrerprinzip (the Leader Principle) as was his crude and cretinous predecessor.

Bybee's new career as a life-tenured federal judge has already yielded a ruling that eviscerates what remained of the Fourth Amendment. Yoo has managed to parlay his crimes against the Constitution and human decency into something akin to celebrity status.

An "ungrateful Iraqi" experiences one application of post-Cheney conservatism at Abu Ghraib.

For the post-Cheney conservative movement, the practice of torture is the
summum bonum of good government.

distaff spawn of Cheney's loins is building a presidential campaign devoted to endless war, unlimited presidential power, and the detention and torture of anyone whom the "Commander-in-Chief" selects for such treatment.

The current campaign being waged by Cheney's front group, "Keep America Safe," suggests that attorneys who take their constitutional responsibilities seriously would make excellent candidates for indefinite detention and "enhanced interrogation."

Doubtless right now there are legal scholars and other potential office-seekers staying warm in think-tank warrens and media sinecures, eagerly awaiting the opportunities that would come should Cheneyite conservatism
be re-enthroned in 2013 and the Torture State inaugurates another phase of aggressive expansion.

A Public Apology
I deeply and earnestly regret that it will not be possible for me to participate in the Liberty Forum, which is underway right now in Nashua, New Hampshire. This is the second time I have been honored by an invitation, and the second time circumstances have made it impossible for me to be there.
Had I been wiser in assessing my situation I would not have accepted that invitation; this is one case in which I unwisely took counsel from my hopes, and as a result I have let down the organizers of that event as well as people who expected to hear my presentation tomorrow. I am profoundly sorry and ask their forgiveness.
As some of you know, my wife Korrin suffers from severe health problems that make it all but impossible for me to travel unless I take my entire family along. Several days ago I embarked with my family on what was to be a cross-country trek to New Hampshire, despite the fact that my oldest daughter, Katrina, came down with bronchitis literally hours before we were to leave. She got treatment but is still battling that infection. Our youngest, 13-month-old Justus, is showing symptoms as well. And Korrin has been having difficulty as well. Given all of this it just didn't seem wise to spend several days on the road.
I could have made arrangements to fly out to New Hampshire and back, but my brother -- who often covers for me at home on those occasions when I simply have to be somewhere -- has been hospitalized since December.
Once again, I should have been wiser in assessing my situation and declined the invitation earlier, rather than putting the organizers and attendees of the Liberty Forum through the difficulties I have now inflicted on them. This is entirely my fault, and I hope that in process of time they will forgive me.

Tune in to Pro Libertate Radio (6:00-7:00 Mountain Time) on the Liberty News Radio Network for your daily onslaught of unfiltered anti-government invective.

Dum spiro, pugno!


apollonian said...

...[T]he selection process favors those unhindered by moral compunctions about the criminal exercise of lethal violence,...." -Grigg

* * * * *

Mere Self-Interest Demands Removal Of Torture Pretext/Predicate For Lies, Usurpations, Treason
(Apollonian, 16 Mar 10)

Grigg: I think this was good story of urs, filling us in for most interesting details and circumstances for this important episode of elected psychopaths and criminals who compound the criminal problem with this bribery and legal casuistry as u rightly denounce.

But note a simple thing about this moralism-Pharisaism fixation of urs: it's simply our own rational self-interest as citizens that, even as Jesse Ventura so excellently pt.s out, we reject torture as it only achieves the victims saying whatever the torturers demand. ALL SUCH INFO, gained by such torture, IS THUS OBVIOUSLY UTTERLY WORTHLESS--again, as Ventura pt.s out. But it gets even worse for this torture predicate.

For such torture is merely a way criminals like Bush and Cheney--and now Obama too--justify their criminality and usurpations; they just say, hey, I did it for national security reasons based on "information" fm "credible sources."

And this doing-away w. such torture then is simply a matter of same rational self-interest as invoked and cited by those most excellent thinkers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

So note then: Torture is bad not only as it's so useless for obtaining real info--it's moreover now excuse, premise, and pretext for palpable LIES told by criminal usurpers under color of law, using "national security" and "intelligence" as presumed and pretended justifications.

CONCLUSION: It's thus SIMPLE MATTER OF SELF-INTEREST OF CITIZENS to remove and dis-continue this grossly pernicious torture excuse, pretext, and predicate for criminal usurpation and actual treason. And there's no "moral virtue" beyond this rational self-interest--indeed, it's what any proper "morality" is bound and obligated TO SERVE--the duty of servants towards citizens. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Apollonian

Anonymous said...


i hope bybee's wife is able to talk some sense into him, or she will surely partake of his sin. to have a man's ear, and not warn him of the danger ahead...that's not a good wife.

even pontious(?) pilate's wife warned him.


Anonymous said...

You read too many conspiracy novels. Get a life or go meet the local chapter of those who are convinced that the government was behind 9/11. Good God man, get a grip. If you are a devoted follower of Jesus spend more time in prayer than hallucinating.

Anonymous said...

The Dark Knight Strikes Again was the first 9/11 Truther on 9/10/2001, with Batman assassinating the president of the United States to stop his false-flag attacks on USA by robot drone aircraft. Batman used his robot drone Batjet to ram the president in a skyscraper, and used THERMITE to kill the Joker. The Joker was Robin, working for the president as an MKULTRA false-flag psyop.

Lemuel Gulliver said...

Who are you talking to and accusing of paranoia - Mr. Grigg or Apollonian? Are you implying you still think everything the Bush Administration did was OK? If so, I can sell you a very nice bridge very cheap - meet me in the back alley and bring your wallet. Don't mind if I bring a couple of large black friends - that's just my lawyer and my accountant.

You miss the point or the reason for Bush-Cheney-Rove wanting a free hand to torture their victims. They did not see it as a means to extract information - everybody but a cretin knows the information is useless, as you point out - but as a means to intimidate any opposition.

Anyone whispering the slightest criticism of the Republican machine could be branded a terrorist at the President's say-so, and subjected to torture to "extract information about the dastardly plot to defame and thereby overthrow the government." And if there was no such information forthcoming, because there was none to be had, they just might be tortured to death, as some hundreds of people were in Iraq and Afghanistan. THAT was why Bush-Cheney-Rove wanted the authority to commit torture - as a tool to strike fear into their opponents. Not as an interrogation tool.

Does nobody see that?

Mr. Grigg,
"The Obama administration... has distinguished itself by its lack of zeal to investigate Yoo, Bradbury, and others implicated in the Bush administration's war crimes. Although he's much more low-key in his approach, the urbane and erudite Obama is just as devoted to the advancement of Fuhrerprinzip (the Leader Principle) as was his crude and cretinous predecessor."

I regret to say I agree with you. I also regret that in July 2008 I braved 100-degree days to go door-to-door as an Obama foot soldier raising votes for the namby-pamby, grinning, mealy-mouthed pseudo-Carterian snake-in-the-grass. What a waste of time and sweat.

The other reason why the Bushies were so anxious to get these legal opinions, of course, was that they KNEW they were committing war crimes for which this country hung Nazis at Nuremberg, and wanted to cover their own asses with legal carte blanche. This is precisely, exactly, the Nuremberg defense: Everyone was only following orders and was thus blameless, all except for Adolf Hitler, who had supposedly issued the orders but was conveniently unable to testify on his own behalf. So when some day Bush and Cheney might be hauled into war crimes court in The Hague, they could point to these memos and say, "We were only relying on the Justice Department's expert legal opinion."

This stinks like a dead skunk, of course, but so does everything done by the Leviathan State.

Lemuel Gulliver.

Daniel Hewitt said...

Interesting....I didn't know the personal motives behind it all. Why am I not surprised? I should have figured.

And I've got to get me a copy of the Judge's new book. Lies The Government Told You looks to be every bit as good as his other books.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the link to that video regarding how "constitutional attorneys who take their responsibilities seriously...." should face reprisals is a dead link.

R.S. Ladwig said...

Just couple the endorsement of torture tacit or explicit with the constant talk about terrorists in the US and it shouldn't be difficult to see where this is heading. It's in recent bills I think hr 645 that they can indefinately detain US citizens...all it will take is a well publicized Tim McVeigh and the mass of shleps will go right along with the camps, round ups and torture right here in "the homeland".

Sans Authoritas said...

Morality is not and should not be based upon mere rational self-interest, Apollonian. It is and should be based on Love.

The fact that act of torture will harm the torturer in the long run is not the reason that the torturer should not torture. The reason that he should not torture is because every human being on earth has tremendous value and dignity by virtue of his nature. Torture (not to be confused with the mere infliction of suffering) is wrong because is an attempt to coerce the free will, an intrinsic aspect of human nature, and thus a part of what it means to be a human being.

Torture breeds suffering, fear and hatred, and jeopardizes human souls as a result. We are here on earth to get to heaven, and to help others to get to heaven. Torture places a stumbling block on the way to heaven.

Torturing a fellow human being is like smearing mud on the face of God, in Whose image and likeness we are created. It is an atrocious affront to the Author of Life, and the Bestower of our free will.

zach said...

Mr. Grigg, you are a journalist as Ron Paul is a statesman.

Anonymous said...

"The lifeless body of their erstwhile employer is a bloody heap at the feet of his murderer, a leering, disfigured sliver of psychosis calling himself the" -- amerikan government. Does anybody really believe the bureau-rats anymore?

It is going to be a long haul now that the 'war option' has failed to solve the debt problem that these wars were 'engineered' to solve have failed miserably.

In Male Fide
Sic Semper Tyrannis

QB said...

Hey Will, I'm missing 2 days of Pro Libertate radio! It's been a lonely commute to work the past couple days, thankfully, I've had Max Igan's "Surviving the Matrix" to hold me over. :-) If you ever get a chance to check him out, I'd like to know what you think. Here's a link to one of his shows. http://thecrowhouse.com/112609.html

apollonian said...

"Morality is not and should not be based upon mere rational self-interest, Apollonian. It is and should be based on Love." -Sans Authoritas, 6:56pm

* * * * *

"Love" Cannot Be Indiscriminate, Without Reason Or Focus, Otherwise It Would Be Self-Destructive
(Apollonian, 19 Mar 10)

"Sans...," u merely bring up subject of morality/ethics--what it really is about, which then has to do w. appropriate (proper) action of the human, a creature of will (but not PERFECTLY "FREE" will--like God's) who must choose. Thus we examine how to choose, in accord w. what principles--ethics.

So since human is SINNER, one necessary first principle, a metaphysical condition of existence/nature, due to self-interest, a creature of will, such human must be consistent w. such will and self-interest--it's axiomatic as it's NOT POSSIBLE to not be self-interested. To be human is to be self-interested--there's no way of getting away fm this condition, "sin."

Note then, even if u pretend absolute altruism is ur "motive" (or "duty," according to Immanuel Kant)--u're simply making altruism ur "interest," which then is obviously contradictory and ultimately impossible, hence dis-honest.

Note whatever action the human takes, it must always satisfy that basic condition and question, WHY?--thus any action always serves some interest, no matter how subtle or hidden--if this wasn't true, human wouldn't be what human is--self-interested, sinner.

Thus only question is what's most RATIONAL under circumstances which can't be changed, i.e., self-interest. Absolute altruism (dis-interestedness) as "interest" is simply not possible as it isn't even rational, hence is simply not honest.

Thus to oppose self-interest is to oppose fundamental nature of human; hence to oppose self-interest is to oppose REASON itself--thus to oppose humanity itself. One cannot get away fm this necessary condition of human self-interest--no more than fish can get away fm necessary condition of living in water, etc.

Thus self-interest and reason require torture be eliminated as means of achieving genuine information as it (torture) obviously then only lends itself to justification of lies by politicians regarding citizenry who are then defrauded, not served by such torture, on the contrary--this is prior then to additional, quite accurate observations above by "Lemuel Gulliver," torture moreover serving as intimidation for such politicians.

Such then is my case (as above), very simply, AGAINST torture, this on basis of self-interest in light of human reason, honesty, and reality. All the rest of ur argument, "Sans...," is simply wishful-thinking, fatuity, and Pharisaism, typical for u.

CONCLUSION: "Love" must thus begin, for the sinner, in rational self-regard, thus again, rational self-interest. We only "love" as it's in our interest--there's simply no other reason (think about it) or condition. "Loving" against self-interest would obviously lead to extinction of the race. Ur basic problem, "sans...," is ur usual lack of rationality, not to mention honesty. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Apollonian

Teresa said...

Terrorists who hold all of the cards in their hand, who hold the lives of innocents-whether they will live or die- are not subject to the same level of dignity as innocent human beings, and do not have the right to withhold the information needed to stop an act of terrorism. Both Bybee and Yoo were correct in authorizing EIT's in order to save innocent lives. I am sure that pic is from Abu Graib which Bush, Cheney, Yoo, and Bybee did not authorize and they have condemned those soldiers' horrible abuses.

If you are against the use of EIT's in extraordinary times then you are in effect playing by the terrorists rules and that will cause the U.S. to lose the war on terror.

Waterboarding was used on three people-people who planned the killing of 3000 innocent Americans and were willing to kill more, even to the point of being willing to take part in suicide bombings so don't even go there, and say they are worthy of the same human dignity as an innocent who has done nothing wrong. God believes in justice and that is what the aformentioned heroes did-they authorized justice. We need people willing to get down and dirty during times of war. That is the way we have won wars in the past, and if we have play nice like you want then America will lose the war.

Sans Authoritas said...

Apollonian, read what I wrote again.

You wrote that not torturing is a "simple matter of self-interest." That depends on whose self-interest it is. The people who order torture don't tend believe, or at least act as though they believe, in an afterlife. They live for the temporal world. If torture saves lives, as they say, then it's in their self-interest to torture, in their minds.

I said, on the other hand, that love, not self-interest, rational or otherwise, should be the primary motivation for an action.

I did not say that humans are capable of completely pure acts of love.

I did not say that rational self-interest is not present in every human act.

I did not say that I oppose rational self-interest.

I said that self interest, while it is always a motivating factor, based on one's act being performed in relation to oneself should not be the primary motivation.

You are attacking claims that I never made.

Loving acts can include an aspect of self-interest, but they should not be primarily motivated by self-interest.

If one lives according to this world, giving of oneself has no purpose unless it benefits oneself temporally.

Mr. Grigg, I wish a speedy recovery to your whole family.

William N. Grigg said...

SansAuthoritas, thanks so much for your kind words. Katrina is doing much better. I'm taking Justus to the clinic tomorrow to have him checked out.

As for Korrin -- well, her condition is chronic, and I'm simply going to have to define my professional life, such as it is, accordingly. Thanks again.

William N. Grigg said...

Teresa, I've examined your comment from several angles and I've yet to find anything therein resembling a docmentable fact, with one exception, which I'll examine anon.

First of all, you assume that anyone designated a terrorist by the government is "not subject to the same level of dignity as innocent human beings...." This is certainly not what the law dictates.

Among those tortured by and on behalf of the Bush Regime were several people never formally charged with involvement in any criminal plot of any kind.

Witness the case of Omar Deghayes, who was partially blinded at Gitmo before being released after several years of unlawful detention. He was never charged with a crime of any kind.

At the best of the Bush administration, and under the direction of the CIA, Binyam Mohammed was not only beaten and starved, but he was also carved up by a scalpel-wielding fiend who, among other things, inflicted painful incisions on that man's genitals. He was never charged with involvement in terrorism of any kind.

One of your "heroes," the execrable John Yoo, claims that it could be appropriate to abduct and torture the children of an accused terrorist -- using sexual mutilation, if "necessary" -- as the president deems necessary. That's a child who, to borrow your phrase, is an "innocent who has done nothing wrong."

Is that your position? If it is, how are you morally distinguishable from the terrorists you abhor -- people who employ vicious violence against the innocent? And given that this is John Yoo's position, in what sense should be be considered a "hero," as opposed to a squalid criminal?

The one fact that you admit is that Yoo and Bybee and their ilk authorized actions like those described above -- actions that are, and have never ceased to be, crimes against the laws of God and man, irrespective of the cause in which they were committed.

Cloaking them in euphemisms such as "extraordinary interrogation techniques" does nothing to change their fundamental nature.

The Nazis, incidentally, used exactly that same euphemism to describe exactly the same kinds of torture techniques -- something you might have learned if you had expanded your intellectual diet beyond the smelly little orthodoxy of GOP-aligned talk radio and blogs.

Isaac said...

what if?

There is no war on terror. Take the time to find the reasons "they" hate us so much. Go back as far as you can. Find out who started the fire.

As far as the heroes who authorized "EITs" in order to save innocent lives (guffaw), you should know that those who support and encourage extra-legal actions against others usually find themselves, eventually, on the other side of it. Call it karma, cosmic justice, or whatever you like, but it always comes around. You may want to consider that when you get that warm, fuzzy feeling thinking about dead Iraqis. Or Iranians, or whichever enemy du jour.

Col. B. Bunny said...

<< For the post-Cheney conservative movement, the practice of torture is the summum bonum of good government. >>

Mr. Grigg, that's over the top. I know of no conservative who thinks like that. Please. You're going to give the FCC the excuse they've been waiting for to ban internet hyperbole.

As for those Mr. Yoo's work, Arthur Herman in the June 2009 "Commentary" wrote:

"However, they [the 'torture memos'] could just as well be branded 'anti-torture memos.' Yoo and his colleagues used them to define the boundaries at which interrogation of unwilling and uncooperative prisoners would cross over into the category of torture. Once those boundaries were breached, any action would be illegal under United States law and international treaties, including the 1994 United Nations Convention Against Torture."

It may be your belief that Yoo et al drafted these memos with bases motives but it would be helpful if you would cite where exactly in those memos did they draw the line impermissibly low. If the memos were wrong, where were they wrong and how should they have come out had they been doing their jobs as the dispassionate, noble civil servants instead of as the disgraceful weasels we know them to be.

Before you post lurid pictures of bloodied Iraqi prisoners, I think you should point to where the "torture memos" authorize that kind of treatment of prisoners.

And what's with "the distaff spawn of Dick Cheney's loins" for heaven sake? Wouldn't "satanic offspring of the Rasputin of the West Wing" have been a better formulation?

William N. Grigg said...

... what's with "the distaff spawn of Dick Cheney's loins" for heaven sake? Wouldn't "satanic offspring of the Rasputin of the West Wing" have been a better formulation?

Cheney and Rasputin share a certain physical resilience, but I think the comparison is otherwise quite unfair to Rasputin. Besides, Cheney -- when not ensconced in an undisclosed location -- operated out of the Old Executive Office Building, which is adjacent to the West Wing but not part of it.

Mr. Herman's treatment of the Yoo/Bybee memos is utterly dishonest: Those documents didn't define "boundaries," they demolished them.

The "boundaries" of interrogation were already established by law, which categorically forbids the tactics endorsed by those memos, rather than permitting limited use of them. Furthermore, Yoo and Bybee insisted that the "limits" they proposed could be waived by presidential decree (recall that Yoo endorsed the notion that a perfectly innocent child could be permanently mangled through sexual torture at the orders of the president).

What Yoo and Bybee did was to make the Leninist argument that the president is a law to himself, and that he has the authority to set aside statutes that he considers troublesome.

The key claim made by Yoo and Bybee was that there is "an unenumerated 'executive power' [that] contrasts with the specific enumeration of the powers ... granted to Congress in Article I."

The "sweeping grant" of power supposedly applies to both the president and his designated agents. Thus military or intelligence personnel may commit acts of torture under "the President's Commander-in-Chief Power," which is apparently limitless.

Therefore, they conclude, "the Department of Justice could not bring a criminal prosecution [against someone] who had acted pursuant to an exercise of the President's constitutional power.... If Congress could do so, it could control the President's authority through the manipulation of federal criminal law."

The cute formula Yoo and Bybee propose as a definition of torture is a pretense, since they insist that a torturer, acting under presidential orders, who kills a detainee enjoys plenary immunity -- first, because he is cloaked in the mantle of the war president's supposedly limitless authority, and secondly because his actions fall under a definition of "self-defense" so extravagantly sophistical that it would make Thrasymachus exclaim, "Are you serious?"

If you're interested in a much more honest treatment of the legal details, read chapter 15 in Judge Napolitano's new book.

Daniel Hewitt said...

Mr. Grigg,

Here's one more who will be praying for Korrin and your family.

apollonian said...

Self-Interest Is Axiomatic For Willful, Sinful Human
(Apollonian, 22 Mar 10)

"Sans...," u just like to hear urself talk. I simply made a case for non-torture upon grounds of rational self-interest and thus honesty in accord w. Christian truth. We're sinners and thus shall we always act--despite ur utterly brainless blather.

In ur usual fatuous style, u talk about what "...should be the primary motivation for an action," without giving the premise for the "should"--is it because u say so?--of course it is. U forget u speak fm ur own (typically fatuous) interests. I think u "should" give me alllllllllll ur money--all of it.

People do what they do as they consider it's in their interest, always have, always will, as humans by definition are creatures of will (thus "sin"). Since then they act ineluctably according to will, hence interest, we can only urge it be rational. The criminal law then forbids the most heinous actions at the margins; in-between, it's left up to the individual, assuming human reason. Thus reason must assume self-interest ("sin").

Finally note the entire ethical argument, including this one regarding torture must be founded upon REASON. As soon as u discard reason, u've lost ur argument. Thus humans are self-interested by nature, no less than anything else regarding humanity. So u cannot discard self-interest anymore than u can discard humanity (thus "sin") itself--hence reason.

CONCLUSION: And that's what u obsessively strive to doing, "sans...," ignoring that necessary human condition, self-interest (thus "sin"), in ur habitual fatuity and utterly brainless presumption. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Apollonian

apollonian said...

"Teresa" Is Winner, With Overwhelming Logic
(Apollonian, 22 Mar 10)

Mr. Grigg, "Teresa" seems to be one of those--not too terribly bright people--who imagines torture will give u serious, substantial info--rather than merely what u want to hear fm those u torture.

So given her premises, such as they are, u gotta hand it to her; her logic is brilliant and absolutely irrefutable. Think of it: if u could save the lives of 17 trillion threatened people (and who ISN'T "threatened" in some way, manner, or form?), why isn't torture of a low-life permitted?--esp. if u're guaranteed torturee will spill the proverbial beans?

CONCLUSION: "Teresa" is simply a genius, and u must admit for once in ur life, u've been bested by superior logic. Honest elections and death to the Fed. Apollonian

William N. Grigg said...

Daniel, thank you so much.

Apollonian, I happily admit that if an interlocutor has the luxury of redefining reality to suit his or her arguments, rather than conforming those arguments to reality as we're sentenced to live within it, neither I nor anyone else can win a debate with that person.

Anonymous said...

Thrasymachus, eh? I had to hit the books to look this one up and once I understood the context it brought a chuckle. You're SO right!

As far as Teresa and her support of torture... You immediately have to be suspicious of anything and anyone the State labels as "terrorist". First and foremost these utterances fall from the foulest of lying lips and that's reason enough to discount them.

They define what they wish when they wish. And when the lies are so grossly exaggerated that they can't be supported any longer they then concoct fresh "emergencies" to misdirect the masses.

This keeps the game afoot and should you blurt out, "Hey now... something smells fishy in Denmark", you're labeled a conspiracy kook, a "heretic", and you shouldn't question their divine intentions.

Isaac said...

Teresa, the two links I meant to post are here:
What if #1

What if #2

Not like you'll be seeing this post, but whatever.

Anonymous said...

Your analysis of what just came down was amazing, Wil. This is so serious. TOday, more attacks on "Whites", see top wnd article. Thank you for putting this in an historical context. Terry the Aquari.