Monday :: Jan 9, 2006

Tit For Tat

by pessimist

One has to wonder if the deserters, draft avoiders, and deferment manipulators who make up Bu$hco are of the opinion that going to war is little different than playing a game. All one has to do is look at the reactions to certain actions.

For instance, when a Christian Science Monitor reporter was abducted in Iraq on Saturday, the US responded in kind: US troops seize award-winning Iraqi journalist. The World Trade Center was the location for many of New York's television transmitters. Is that why Bu$hco sought to bomb Al Jazeera? Does this mean that regional Muslim leaders will be targeted by air strikes because Suicide Bombers Kill 29 at Iraqi Ministry while the U.S. Ambassador, Khalilzad, and other dignitaries were attending an event at the adjacent police academy?

And just what justifies this insane comment from Bu$hCo 'legal advisor' John Yoo?

Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel reveals the logic of Yoo’s theories, adopted by the Administration as bedrock principles, in the real world:
Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

You can hear Yoo boo hoo for yourself by downloading this mp3 file.

As David Cole puts it, "Yoo reasoned that because the Constitution makes the President the 'Commander-in-Chief,’ no law can restrict the actions he may take in pursuit of war. On this reasoning, the President would be entitled by the Constitution to resort to genocide if he wished."
As a Justice Department lawyer, I dealt with both issues – I worked on and signed the department's memo on the Geneva Conventions and helped draft the main memo defining torture. I can explain why the administration decided that aggressive measures, though sometimes unpopular, are necessary to protect America from another terrorist attack. - John Yoo, quoted from the memo.
The legal theory developed by Yoo and a few others and adopted by the Administration has resulted in thousands being abducted from their homes in Afghanistan, Iraq or other parts of the world, mostly at random. People have been raped, electrocuted, nearly drowned and tortured literally to death in U.S.-run torture centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay.
What can explain this sadistic, indiscriminate, barbaric brutality except a need to instill widespread fear among people all over the world?
The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel – where I worked at the time – determined that the Geneva Conventions legally do not apply to the war on terrorism because Al-Qaida is not a nation-state and has not signed the treaties. Al-Qaida members also do not qualify as legal combatants because they hide among peaceful populations and launch surprise attacks on civilians – violating the fundamental principle that war is waged only against combatants.

Consistent American policy since at least the Reagan administration has denied terrorists the legal privileges reserved for regular armed forces. [T]he Justice Department found that the president had reasonable grounds to deny Taliban members POW status because they did not meet the conventions' requirements that lawful combatants operate under responsible command, wear distinctive insignia, and obey the laws of war.

Our only means for preventing future terrorist attacks, which could someday involve weapons of mass destruction, is to rely on intelligence that permits pre-emptive action. An American leader would be derelict if he did not seek to understand all available options in such perilous circumstances.
- John Yoo, from the memo.

It is ironic that just prior to arguing the President's legal right to torture children, John Yoo was defensive about the Bush administration policies, based on his legal memo’s, being equated to those during Nazi Germany.

Yoo said, "If you are trying to draw a moral equivalence between the Nazis and what the United States is trying to do in defending themselves against Al Qauueda and the 9/11 attacks, I fully reject that. Second, if you’re trying to equate the Bush Administration to Nazi officials who committed atrocities in the holocaust, I completely reject that too…I think to equate Nazi Germany to the Bush Administration is irresponsible."

If open promotion of unmitigated executive power, including the right to order the torture of innocent children, isn’t sufficient basis for drawing such a "moral equivalence," then I don’t know what is. What would be irresponsible is to sit by and allow the Bush regime to radically remake society in a fascist way, with repercussions for generations to come.

But it's all just a game, isn't it? A sick, vicious game, with all the marbles going to the side that can demonstrate the most effective and efficient cruelty.

Last time I checked, Al Qaeda didn't have an Air Force trained in carpet-bombing techniques, or hundreds of laser- and television-guided cruise missiles which can fly down chimneys before exploding. They have to use poorly-protected American airliners and half-trained amateur pilots to accomplish a similar result.

Which side has been more successful with its attacks? Ten to one it's the United States.

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pessimist :: 7:16 PM :: Comments (2) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!