Of cource it’s not like he directly said – go torture those people. That’s not how these kind of orders are given. The president has to have his deniability, He has to be able to claim that – “I didn’t know they were torturing people. I am like so shocked!”
So here’s how this sort of thing works. The Bush legal team produces a memorandum that creates a justification for torture. And this happened. Under this memorandum “A team of administration lawyers concluded in a March 2003 legal memorandum that President Bush was not bound by either an international treaty prohibiting torture or by a federal antitorture law because he had the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation’s security.” According to an Article in the New York Times.
Basically – this says that Bush can throw out the Geneva Convention with merely a national security excuse.
It then creates cover of lower ranking officers. A reason would be if military personnel believed that they were acting on orders from superiors, the lawyers said.
“In order to respect the president’s inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign,” the lawyers wrote in the 56-page confidential memorandum, the prohibition against torture “must be construed as inapplicable to interrogation undertaken pursuant to his commander-in-chief authority.”
Then – they go about trying to redefine what torture is. The March 6 document about torture provides tightly constructed definitions of torture. For example, if an interrogator “knows that severe pain will result from his actions, if causing such harm is not his objective, he lacks the requisite specific intent even though the defendant did not act in good faith,” the report said. “Instead, a defendant is guilty of torture only if he acts with the express purpose of inflicting severe pain or suffering on a person within his control.”
So – what this means is – if your primary objective is to get information or to obey your commanding officer respecting the chain of command – then what you are doing isn’t really torture. It’s only torture if you have no better reason than to cause pain.
And – buy saying “severe pain” they create another loophole as to what is severe. And – if the person causing the severe pain doesn’t know it’s severe – they would be immune.
And then where you torture is also significant. Accouding to the Times, “The March memorandum also contains a curious section in which the lawyers argued that any torture committed at Guantánamo would not be a violation of the anti-torture statute because the base was under American legal jurisdiction and the statute concerns only torture committed overseas. That view is in direct conflict with the position the administration has taken in the Supreme Court, where it has argued that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay are not entitled to constitutional protections because the base is outside American jurisdiction.”
So – Gitmo is outside American jurisdiction? What a load of crap! Bet if I shot a general there that they would find plenty of jurisdiction to prosecute me. Or – would they? They’d just turture me without a trial.
The point – getting back to the main subject – is that this memorandum was circulated and only the extremely stupid would get the idea that this is an order from the president to start torturing prisoners. And – it is constructed in such a way that the further you go down the chain of command the more torture is required. It creates levels of willful ignorance so that if they are caught that combinations of “I didn’t know what was happening” and “I was just following orders” could be used as a defense.
But putting aside the obuscations what is really happening here is that Bush and Rumsfield are war criminals and should be hauled in front of an international tribunal and tried for war crimes. Bush and Rumsfield didn’t do anything that was substantially different that Saddam Hussein did. Saddam beats Bush only in quantity.
Of course we’ll never see this happen because Bush is above the law. But being above the law doesn’t make what you do legal. It merely means that you have a way of escaping justice. If anyone else on the planet did what Bush did they would be on trial as a war criminal. And even though Bush can escape justice doesn’t mean that we can’t at leat try him in the court of public opinion.
And for those who say that “Bush is innocent till proven guilty” I say that when someone is in a position of being above the law – then they can be guilty without being proven guilty bcause they are immune from the process of law.
I therefore declare Bush guilty was crimes against humanity because the evidence that he ordered the illegal tortures and violated International law is obvious.
There is no doubt in my mind that the turture hasn’t stopped. I has just been moved to places where there are no cameras to take pictures and into countries where these kind of things go on. If we take a prisoner to Egypt to be tortured – it’s no different in any way than if we are doing the torture ourselves.