Saturday, April 26, 2008
The end justifies the means
And with this logic, Our Dear Embattled Leader has thrown the rule of law out the window. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has made public letters sent to him by the Justice Dept that explained the administration outlook on what it considers torture.
While the Geneva Conventions prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity,” a letter sent by the Justice Department to Congress on March 5 makes clear that the administration has not drawn a precise line in deciding which interrogation methods would violate that standard, and is reserving the right to make case-by-case judgments.And, in an attempt to defend the indefensible, an anonymous DOJ official reinforced this view Friday,
“The fact that an act is undertaken to prevent a threatened terrorist attack, rather than for the purpose of humiliation or abuse, would be relevant to a reasonable observer in measuring the outrageousness of the act,” said Brian A. Benczkowski, a deputy assistant attorney general, in the letter, which had not previously been made public.
“I certainly don’t want to suggest that if there’s a good purpose you can head off and humiliate and degrade someone,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was describing some legal judgments that remain classified.And the Geneva Conventions and supporting laws passed since their adoption are not so vague as Dear Leader would have us believe. But Dear Leader, out of the goodness of his heart, has seen the need to "adjust" their definitions when they become inconvenient to his purposes.
“The fact that you are doing something for a legitimate security purpose would be relevant, but there are things that a reasonable observer would deem to be outrageous,” he said.
At the same time, the official said, “there are certainly things that can be insulting that would not raise to the level of an outrage on personal dignity.”
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