AUTHORIZING TORTURE

In 81 pages of chilling legalese, the BushCheney regime reveals just how morally corrupt it is.

In 81 pages of chilling legalese, the BushCheney regime reveals just how morally corrupt it is.

The pages, recently released under a freedom-of-information action, embody the administration’s tortured legal reasoning for authorizing the torture of prisoners of war. These are the contents of a memo written in March 2003 by John Yoo, then the Bushites’ top-ranking authority on the interpretation of our laws. The purpose of Yoo’s memo was not merely to okay some heinous, clearly-illegal, un-American acts against human beings, but – even more despicable – it also provides a detailed legal escape route so top officials would not be held accountable for authorizing such acts.

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He asserts, for example, that policy makers can legally permit such obvious abuses as waterboarding as long as interrogators don’t actually intend to drown the person. Besides, he insists that in times of war, mere laws don’t apply to the commander-in-chief.

Back in 2004, when the story and photos of Abu Ghraib shocked Americans and outraged the world, the troika of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld clucked their tongues about the bad characters in that prison who acted with such depravity. The troika stood silent as a few of the grunts were punished and as Americans were left to wonder how the soldiers could stray so far from our nation’s standards of decency.

Now, however, we see that this stain on our national honor didn’t bubble up from the bottom, it was authorized from the highest level by officials who were determined to twist the law so they could do anything they wanted, while exempting themselves from any responsibility. Meanwhile, Bush himself recently vetoed a ban on waterboarding, and he is keeping at least two other memos on the legality of torture a secret from us.

The immorality of the Bushites is corrupting America itself.

“There Were Orders to Follow,” New York Times, April 4, 2008.

“Let’s take it from the top,” Austin American Statesman, April 10, 2008 (originally printed in The Miami Herald).

“Memo Sheds New Light on Torture Issue,” New York Times, April 3, 2008

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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