Democrat From Kentucky

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Tortured Logic Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tortured Logic

The New Yorker Magazine had a rather interesting study on a sample case of Torture by our Government.
It provides lots of very interesting insights into how such things are done and even more on why it shouldn't be permitted.

Read the full article at the link below:
New Yorker

Of particular interest was the following excerpts:

After September 11th, the Justice Department fashioned secret legal guidelines that appear to indemnify C.I.A. officials who perform aggressive, even violent interrogations outside the United States. Techniques such as waterboarding (the near-drowning of a suspect) have been implicitly authorized by an Administration that feels that such methods may be necessary to win the war on terrorism. (In 2001, Vice-President Dick Cheney, in an interview on Meet the Press, said that the government might have to go to 'the dark side' in handling terrorist suspects, adding, It's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal.)

Late last month, Cheney and Porter Goss, the C.I.A. director, had an unusual forty-five-minute private meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator McCain, who was tortured as a P.O.W. during the Vietnam War. They argued that the C.I.A. sometimes needs the 'flexibility' to treat detainees in the war on terrorism in 'cruel, inhuman, and degrading' ways. Cheney sought to add an exemption to McCain's bill, permitting brutal methods when 'such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack.'


... In August, 2002, the department's Office of Legal Counsel sent a memo on interrogations to the White House, which argued that a coercive technique was torture only when it induced pain equivalent to what a person experiencing death or organ failure might suffer. By implication, all lesser forms of physical and psychological mistreatment (what critics have called 'torture lite') were legal. The memo also said that torture was illegal only when it could be proved that the interrogator intended to cause the required level of pain. And it provided interrogators with another large exemption: 'torture might be acceptable if an interrogator was acting in accordance with military necessity.'

The Administration subsequently revised the guidelines, using language that seemed more restrictive. But a little-noticed footnote protected the coercive methods permitted by the 'torture memo', stating that they did not violate the standards set forth in this memorandum.

The Bush Administration has resisted disclosing the contents of two Justice Department memos that established a detailed interrogation policy for the Pentagon and the C.I.A. A March, 2003, classified memo was 'breathtaking,'the same source said. The document dismissed virtually all national and international laws regulating the treatment of prisoners, including war-crimes and assault statutes, and it was radical in its view that in wartime the President can fight enemies by whatever means he sees fit. According to the memo, Congress has no constitutional right to interfere with the President in his role as Commander-in-Chief, including making laws that limit the ways in which prisoners may be interrogated. Another classified Justice Department memo, issued in August, 2002, is said to authorize numerous 'enhanced' interrogation techniques for the C.I.A. These two memos sanction such extreme measures that, even if the agency wanted to discipline or prosecute agents who stray beyond its own comfort level, the legal tools to do so may no longer exist.

For nearly a year, Democratic senators critical of alleged abuses have been demanding to see these memos. "We need to know what was authorized," Carl Levin, a Democrat from Michigan, told me. "Was it waterboarding? The use of dogs? Stripping detainees? . . . The refusal to give us these documents is totally inexcusable." Levin is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to have an oversight role in relation to the C.I.A. "The Administration is getting away with just saying no," he went on. "There's no claim of executive privilege. There's no claim of national security, we've offered to keep it classified. It's just bullshit. They just don't want us to know what they're doing, or have done."

posted by Greymagius @ 12:18 PM

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At 9:22 AM, Blogger Cynicus said...
"We don't torture, and the torture we don't do is vital to our national security".

Now compare that to my youngest (single-digit age): "I didn't do it, and it's not that bad, and I got an 'A' on my social studies test."

She's 9 - it's understandable that she would think it might work. What's Cheney's excuse?

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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