Bucking The Tide: An Al-Marri Surprise

We know the backstory: secrecy and legally incompetent boobery masking wholesale gutting of the rule of law.

But something in Jane Mayer’s most recent reporting on the al-Marri case made me pause:

Unlike the staff at Abu Ghraib, the brig staff had been trained for the job. Their mission, as they saw it, was to run a safe, professional, and humane prison, regardless of who was held there. It was the political appointees in Washington, at the Pentagon and the Department of Justice, who wanted Marri to be kept in prolonged isolation. In 2005, Savage discovered that the head of security at the brig, Air Force Major Chris Ferry, “would stay all night with Marri. He’d go down to the brig and sit with him, and tell him to hold on. Chris was there at three in the morning, on the darkest nights.”…

During the Bush years, officers who questioned unlawful orders or demands from Cheney’s goon squad found themselves quickly cashiered. (Shinseki ring a bell?)  But UCMJ requires rejection of an unlawful order.  This was brave.  And decent.

I’m not naive.  Al-Marri is likely no saint.  Most criminals aren’t people I want running around to freely create chaos, which is why I spent a portion of my life sending them to jail.   

But there is a right and wrong way to pursue justice.  And what we have done was entirely, tragically wrong.

The UCMJ requires humane treatment of prisoners in military custody.  Marty Lederman detailed background previously, but it’s well worth re-reading for this:

The Pentagon understood that federal statutory law — the UCMJ — stood in the way of what it wished to do, and rendered unlawful what it already had done in the case of al-Qahtani. It had in its back pocket, however, the legal immunity conferred by the Department of Justice’s authoritative legal opinion (PDF) that the President has the absolute authority, pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief power, to determine "what methods to use to best prevail against the enemy," notwithstanding any statutory restrictions that Congress may have imposed. (emphasis mine)

Where we failed was in disregarding our hardest-earned lessons, shrinking from the shadows of giants like Robert Jackson at Nuremburg:

…The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.

With great power comes a far greater responsibility to the rule of law and ethical conduct. By striving toward justice, we do more good than pettiness or fearful swipes ever could — we become lesser for our misconduct. A grave error we cannot afford to keep making.

That we have fallen so far that decency surprises?  That should give us substantial pause.  

(H/T to MadDog and Jkat.)

 
97 Responses to "Bucking The Tide: An Al-Marri Surprise"
AZ Matt | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:02 am 1

Bush was a politician not a leader. Whatever was expedient, not the long, hard slog for him.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:06 am 2
In response to AZ Matt @ 1

Expedience is the mother of his intentions, in other words.


eCAHNomics | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:09 am 3

al-Marri doesn’t think he was treated humanely. From his wiki

Al-Marri was allowed access to legal counsel in October 2004. His lawyers report that al-Marri has described being subjected to extreme cold, with insufficient bedding and clothing. He has been deprived of all reading material, except a Qur’an. Unlike the cells at Guantanamo Bay, which all have an arrow painted on the floor that points toward Mecca, his guards reportedly decline to inform him of which direction is East. In addition to his cell’s window being merely translucent (rather than transparent), he also claims to have no clock, preventing him from knowing the proper times to say prayers. He has also reportedly been deprived of personal hygiene items. [5] The lack of such items have reportedly also rendered him unable to pray as a result of ritual impurity.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:09 am 4
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 2

oooo, goooood.


Palli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:10 am 5
In response to AZ Matt @ 1

No Bush was a closet sociopath, incompetent, white male socialite elevated way past boundaries of the Peter principle. He was made a leader because he was all of these things and he didn’t give a damn about anyone, anything except himself.


AZ Matt | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:10 am 6
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 2

He wanted to be an action super hero and they don’t let little things like the rule of law slow them down.


Elliott | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:11 am 7

a beautiful post Christy, gives me hope.

and we should never forget Jackson’s words-

…The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated. That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.


demi | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:11 am 8

Wow. Jackson’s words hold such power and truth. Hope to hear soon these words at a trial for some of our newly ousted officials.


AZ Matt | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:13 am 9

OT – Christy, left a connection in the last post last night to a poverty/children/working poor study from the Guardian.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:17 am 10

Slightly OT – for those who haven’t read Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation I highly recommend it.


JimWhite | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:18 am 11

I’m having trouble finding the link, but didn’t Jackson also talk about “truth, justice and the value of one human life”? That seems to me to be what Ferry was demonstrating.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:19 am 12

G’Morning Christy & FireLakers™ !

We’re getting a dusting of snow today – 2 inches, which this winter, seems like a dusting – followed by 10 – 20 mm of rain, so the streets are going to be a Curling Rink.

Only sensible solution is to make Banana Nut Bread and a pot of Tea with Cinnamon Sticks and Cloves … anyone want some ?


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:20 am 13

Have the New Yorker’s “cartoons” always been so pointless, inappropriate, not to mention not at all funny?


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:20 am 14
In response to eCAHNomics @ 3

He wasn’t always treated humanely — read the whole article and you’ll see that. But the difference between his treatment at the hands of the Pentagon folks and intel folks versus the “jailer” ones is striking in Mayer’s reporting.

Jeebus, you cannot actually think I’m making excuses for the asshat behavior in the reading of this, can you?


selise | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:20 am 15

The UCMJ requires humane treatment of prisoners in military custody

is this still true now that the army field manual has been changed?


AZ Matt | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:21 am 16

OT — Speaking of the old regime, Josh Bolton just won’t go away: Hillary Clinton’s North Korea naivete


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:23 am 17
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 13

Liek all cartoons, some hit you one way one day and an entirely different way the next. And they don’t match them to the subject matter of the article — so sometimes they seem more off than others. FWIW


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:26 am 18
In response to Petrocelli @ 12

Oh lordy — send some my way. I could really use it this morning. Cold rain here, and I woke up with a headache. Ugh.


Bluetoe2 | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:27 am 19

Great post, Christy!


demi | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:29 am 20
In response to Petrocelli @ 12

I’d like to have some tea, please. And, thank you, Mr. P.


markfromireland | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:29 am 21

Christy Hi,

I want to make a point that needs to be screamed long and loud.

You are being watched. You are being watched right throughout the Middle East and right throughout the Dar al-Islam. You are being watched by your friends.You are being watched by those who hate you but are willing to make peace. You are being watched by your enemies. Particularly in Irak.

This is your last chance to get it right.

It’s a straightforward black or white:

You either investigate and punish those who committed these crimes at all levels or you do not.

If you do there is a chance, a small one, but a chance, to build peaceful relations between you and the Irakis.

If you do not you will have said more eleoquently than words that those Irakis who say that the only language America speaks to Arabs is the language of violence, hatred, and contempt, and that it is time to start speaking it back are right.

Don’t fuck it up.

markfromireland

PS: Give a hug to peanut for me :-)


SouthernDragon | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:31 am 22
In response to selise @ 15

Yes. Prolly won’t ever hear it said publicly but the UCMJ is the Bible of Justice for the military. See here and here.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:31 am 23

I added those Golden California Raisins, because they’re softer and look nicer than the other kinds.

I’ll add some Cardamon to your Tea for that headache.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:31 am 24
In response to markfromireland @ 21

I know — and we all should know — that we either do better or…well, the consequences of failure are simply too depressing to contemplate this morning.

Hugs to you and yours as well.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:32 am 25
In response to markfromireland @ 21

Greetings, brother.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:32 am 26
In response to demi @ 20

On its way, my dear …


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:32 am 27

Indeed, so casually juxtaposed with this awful subject matter, one can most certainly see why Americans are not universally regarded for their empathy and thoughtfulness. ;)


JimWhite | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:33 am 28
In response to markfromireland @ 21

Thanks, Mark. That’s why it’s so maddening to those of us here who want prosecutions that Obama is leaving hints that he won’t prosecute and will even take steps to continue covering up what has happened. As you note, the consequences of this behavior are dire.


Bluetoe2 | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:33 am 29

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld belong at the Hague.


SouthernDragon | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:33 am 30

Colour me gone.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:35 am 31
In response to SouthernDragon @ 30

Have a good day in the capitalist cesspool. *g*


markfromireland | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:36 am 32
In response to SouthernDragon @ 25

Greetings from Damascus where I’m about to get some, frankly desperately needed rest, planning on going back to Irak in a few weeks. You’ll be pleased to hear that our evacuation of our orphan camps from the disputed areas went way better than expected and they’re settling down into the new camps.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:38 am 33
In response to markfromireland @ 32

Good to hear. Stay safe. And get some rest, would ya?


foothillsmike | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:38 am 34

I believe that the area of justice for these crimes is one area that we should pay particular attention to Obama’s statement “make me do it”


selise | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:38 am 35

thanks SD.

thanks mark.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:41 am 36
In response to foothillsmike @ 34

He needs a lot more public support on these issues to drown out the wingnuttiest among us. It’s not just doing the right thing, it’s showing that the American public is behind it that’s so important to the “the world is watching” portion of the argument.


Loo Hoo. | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:42 am 37

Wow. Good for Air Force Major Chris Ferry. Hope he gets promoted and that he writes about his experience.


demi | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:42 am 38
In response to markfromireland @ 32

Rest well, Mark. And, as a mother, I thank you. As a citizen of the world, I honor you.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:42 am 39

And, btw gang, do read the whole article by Jane Mayer — it’s 7 pages long, but there is a lot of good discussion in there worth reading and discussing. As usual, since it’s Jane Mayer. *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:43 am 40
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 37

DOD isn’t allowing him to speak about this on the record anywhere at the moment, since they are in the middle of the review of the al-Marri case internally since Obama came into office. Jane Mayer mentions that in her article, btw.


chetnolian | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:43 am 41

The ringing words from the Jackson quote are “The wrongs ………….. have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored”.

That’s civilisation, not the USA. If Obama can’t get them, the rest of us have to find out how to. It wasn’t everyone else’s democracy that screwed up and gave us Bush, Cheney et al.


wigwam | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:44 am 42

Per Charlie Savage on the front page of today’s NYT:

Even as it pulls back from harsh interrogations and other sharply debated aspects of George W. Bush’s “war on terrorism,” the Obama administration is quietly signaling continued support for other major elements of its predecessor’s approach to fighting Al Qaeda.

[…]

Glenzilla has more.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:46 am 43

I think this from Jackson’s closing argument is also worth consideration:

Of one thing we may be sure. The future will never have to ask, with misgiving, what could the Nazis have said in their favor. History will know that whatever could be said, they were allowed to say. They have been given the kind of a Trial which they, in the days of their pomp and power, never gave to any man.

But fairness is not weakness. The extraordinary fairness of these hearings is an attribute of our strength. The Prosecution’s case, at its close, seemed inherently unassailable because it rested so heavily on German documents of unquestioned authenticity. But it was the weeks upon weeks of pecking at this case, by one after another of the defendants, that has demonstrated its true strength. The fact is that the testimony of the defendants has removed any doubt of guilt which, because of the extraordinary nature and magnitude of these crimes, may have existed before they spoke. They have helped write their own judgment of condemnation.


Loo Hoo. | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:47 am 44

I’ll take some banana bread, gratefully! (But raisins?)


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:49 am 45
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 44

Don’t knock it ’til you try it … *g*

{{{LooHoo}}}


klynn | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:50 am 46
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 2

Expedience is the mother of his intentions, in other words.

(my bold)

I cannot quite stand firm on the “expedience” portion of your statement, I think it could be something deeper than expedience…But I will stand firm on the “mother of his intentions” portion of your statement. As viewed through my eyes as a mom.

Parents play a big role in creating, reinforcing and/or being void of character when it comes to raising children.


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:51 am 47

They have helped write their own judgment of condemnation.

Yes, yes they did. And so did our war criminals, thanks to Yoo, Gonzalez et al. It’s all there for the world to see.


foothillsmike | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:51 am 48
In response to Loo Hoo. @ 37

Major Ferry is really not as uncommon as we might perceive. Unfortunately the desire to play the military promotion games gives way to the desire to get out of the military.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:55 am 49
In response to foothillsmike @ 48

True that — it hasn’t been uncommon, it’s just been very, very quiet the last few years to even see hints of decency publicly. Because any such hints got you cashiered or moved to where you couldn’t effectively do your job properly.

So we haven’t been able to hear the decent side of things for ages. Again, that ought to give us pause.


Phoenix Woman | Wednesday February 18, 2009 06:59 am 50

It’s called reflexive cynicism. The problem is that its practitioners think they’re being mentally superior to everyone, yet too many of them are easy prey for poo-stirring articles such as a recent one in a certain internet publication that misread all sorts of icky motives (and apparently confused two separate situations) into an Obama DoJ request to delay legal action on Karl Rove.


Phoenix Woman | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:00 am 51
In response to markfromireland @ 32

What Christy said, Mark!


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:01 am 52
In response to Petrocelli @ 12

Me, please. And thanks!


eCAHNomics | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:02 am 53
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 50

Hey, I worked hard to become cynical over the last 8 years and I intend to use my new skill at every opportunity.


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:04 am 54
In response to markfromireland @ 21

I can’t remember (a lot of things). Really from Ireland and now elsewhere? Still there?


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:05 am 55
In response to barbara @ 52

For those with colds, I’m adding fresh Ginger to your Tea !

Extra large slice for you, Barbara.


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:06 am 56
In response to markfromireland @ 32

Holy cow! A partial answer to my question at 54. Damascus and Iraq. The most dangerous thing I do is drive by Mall of America in rush hour.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:07 am 57
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 50

I see so many Lefties mimicking Pox Noise when it comes to this young administration …


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:07 am 58
In response to eCAHNomics @ 53

LOL


AZ Matt | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:08 am 59
In response to Petrocelli @ 55

I sometimes put ginger in my coffee. Very good with a bite!


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:09 am 60
In response to Petrocelli @ 55

Thanks, love!

And Christy. Finally to my point (I often take the great circle route, in case you haven’t noticed). What an amazing post. (((Chris Ferry, human being)))


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:10 am 61
In response to AZ Matt @ 59

My friends at FDL like my Coffee when I add Bailey’s to it. *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:12 am 62
In response to barbara @ 60

Thanks barbara — it isn’t that often any more that something surprises me in a read. This did, and I felt it was well worth noting.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:12 am 63
In response to barbara @ 60

There are lots of people like Chris in the military. I wonder if we will ever hear why they lost control and if there were any “legal opinions” circulated through the Armed Forces that forced them to blindly follow the torture rules from up above.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:13 am 64
In response to Petrocelli @ 63

There was the whole effort of Haynes and Addington to cut the entire JAG corps out of the policy loop, for starters.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:14 am 65

My nephew just got back from Iraq. He was there an additional 2 years due to Stop-Loss and only came back because of a family emergency.

His large family have some Vietnam Vets, so they’re watching him closely but he is mentally anguished.

I’ll go visit him in a few months and ask if I can teach him to meditate and de- stress.


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:15 am 66

You’ve seen it all, haven’t you, darlin’? Or at least most of it. I forget to tell you how much I admire you, your work here on our behalf (and therefore on behalf of the whole community of human beings) and your wonderful senses of outrage and humor. This is not suck-up talk. What would be the point in that? (((Christy)))


WarOnWarOff | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:16 am 67

“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”


katymine | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:18 am 68

Good morning everyone……

found a great banana bread recipe without nuts (Elmore is allergic)…… will post it on one of our food posts.
Ginger ginger keeps the nausea away… :)
Local news is all a twitter because Obama is here to give a speech in Mesa, suburb of Phoenix.


Raven | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:18 am 69
In response to Petrocelli @ 65

Is he back for good or just on emergency leave? Is he out?


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:19 am 70
In response to katymine @ 68

OMG, my Republican cousins live in Mesa. Bet they’re tickled red he’s coming to their town.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:20 am 71
In response to Raven @ 69

Are you on Facebook ?


Raven | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:21 am 72
In response to Petrocelli @ 71

yes, it shows up on the FDL pages


AZ Matt | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:22 am 73
In response to barbara @ 70

The wingnuts are going nuts in Phoenix today.


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:23 am 74
In response to barbara @ 70

You could send them a ‘congratulations!’ e-mail card and find out. *g*


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:24 am 75
In response to Raven @ 72

Okay, I’ll go back and look for your FB link.


Raven | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:25 am 76
In response to Petrocelli @ 75

I just hit ya.


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:25 am 77
In response to AZ Matt @ 73

BO is gonna be there to announce help for homeowners … wingnuts don’t like it when regular folks get handouts …


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:26 am 78
In response to Raven @ 76

Thanks, for some reason, the FB links aren’t showing up on this post.


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:26 am 79
In response to Petrocelli @ 77

So, like, regular as opposed to full of shit? (Bad mouth, baaaad mouth, sit, stay.)


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:28 am 80

You know what? I am gonna send an email. This should be veddy interesting! *g*


Petrocelli | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:30 am 81
In response to barbara @ 79

LOL … handouts are only s’posed to go to reely, reely rich folks, who know how to spend it, yannow …


barbara | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:30 am 82
In response to barbara @ 80

Just did it. I am such a bitch. I love that about myself sometimes!


cinnamonape | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:40 am 83

Christy…Hope you’re having a great morning!

The article also highlights another reason why inconveniences that some of us may find small annoyances are amplified in people of another culture. Remember that many of these prisoners were constantly moved, awaken at odd hours, etc. What that does is prevent them (or their helpful jailers) from knowing the direction of Mecca for prayer. It prevents the prisoner from using his own circadian rhythms for assessing when to pray. If one can’t tell if it’s the middle of night or dawn or dusk you are unlikely to be able to follow ones required religious acts. As the article also mentioned Muslims are also supposed to undertake ablutions before prayer. Besides the denial of personal hygiene issues this was a profound insult upon their psychology. No wonder these people would go into groups like al Qaida if subsequently released. If they weren’t before, or simply “nationalist” or coerced into joining the Taliban, after these acts they’d likely be filled with hate.

The only thing that might have stopped that were folks like Major Chris Ferry.


AitchD | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:41 am 84

Eternal vigilance failed us in the TV Age, thugs like Bush could make governor and POTUS despite our efforts to prevent it. Guys like all y’all are at the least as great as the nation’s Founders. Anyone here have the nerve to say that in the future, students and scholars won’t be reading the FDL Diaries like they’ve read the Federalist Papers?


Adie | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:44 am 85

Good Morning Christy and puppies.

Thank you Christy. Don’t back off. We’re right with you here.


chetnolian | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:45 am 86

Just gone and read the whole article which takes me straight back to the Nuremburg comparison.

Can anyone really tell me what is the difference between the approach to “terrorists” taken by the Bushies and that of the Gestapo? I genuinely cannot see it.

It’s not the detention of Al Marri that shocks. It’s the deliberate, planned, extended use of cruelty. No argument for extended detention can possibly imply deprivation as well. That’s just for kicks because you have decided that he’s a bad person. And once you allow indefinite secretive detention who’se to decide who is a bad person? This is as far from the “One hour to get the bomb defused” argument the securocrats so often use as you can get.

One last thing. Germany, the home of Goethe, Schiller, Bach and Beethoven spawned the Nazis. Just because you are in the USA doesn’t mean you can’t be truly evil. That means you, Dick, Rummy and co.


demi | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:46 am 87

I’m taking off for work. Wish me luck and take good care of each other today.
Petro, I’ll take one of your slices for my morning snack if that’s alright.


siri | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:47 am 88

Stunning write, Christy.
just stunning!
Thank you, now must forward this to each and every person on my lists.


katymine | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:50 am 89
In response to barbara @ 70

Mesa and Gilbert are the reddest area of Phoenix…. large population of mormons too…..


demi | Wednesday February 18, 2009 07:53 am 90

And, ps, darn you Christy. I happen to be highly succeptable to influences and as many times as I’ve refreshed this page this morning, I keep seeing the word Whopper from your previous post. Now, I’m thinking I might have to find one for lunch. *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 08:49 am 91
In response to demi @ 90

Sorry, demi — if you were here, you could have a leftover meatloaf sandwich with me instead. *g*


Christy Hardin Smith | Wednesday February 18, 2009 08:49 am 92
In response to siri @ 88

Thanks, siri — glad you enjoyed the read.


WVAPA | Wednesday February 18, 2009 10:36 am 93
In response to wigwam @ 42

Christy, I would advise your readers to examine Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933 for historical perspective on John Yoo, et al.’s sources for their theory of the unitary executive. By a two thirds vote of the German parliament in 1933, Hitler was authorized to do whatever he considered necessary to protect the “homeland” (I hate that word) from security threats. The passage of the Enabling Act actually amended the German constitution and gave Hitler lawful power to order the most despicable acts, just as long as they were in the interest of “national security”. In exchange for this authority, Hitler promissed to use it rarely and wisely. We all know how that turned out. And doesn’t that promise sound familiar?

The Nuremberg Court recognized that even though some Germans believed they were acting under lawful orders, and arguably they were, there were some acts so inhumane and heinous that they could never be legitimated in law.

The Obama administration should study the Nuremberg trials and act accordingly against the evildoers in the previous administration.


Jkat | Wednesday February 18, 2009 10:43 am 94

yep christy .. that’s what stuck me when i read the link Mad Dog posted .. but ..as an old retired military man .. i’ve often scratched my butt and wondered during this whole sordid affair how the military men .. especially the officer corps ..who i know are trained in the rules of land warfare and the geneva accords and who i know are cognizant of the articles of the UCMJ .. have been able to square the events with military law ..

it is impossible for me to believe that officers and senior NCO’s could countenance behavior that ..while seemingly authorized by Yoo’s legal fig leaf ..and the [imo] un-sane theory of the “unitary executive” .. could allow treatment to occur which .. under the UCMJ would have everyone involved charged with assault ..

i can’t think of a single trained MP .. or SP .. or any marine or naval officer going along with this hooey .. every single one of them are aware that “we do not mistreat or abuse” defenseless prisoners placed in our care .. and certainly we cannot legally “beat to death” under the guise of “enhanced interrogation” those individuals who are shackled .. manacled ..and chained ..

i’m surprised there wasn’t an outright mutiny .. and had one occured .. it would have been for a just cause imo ..

everyone in the military .. each and all .. know that there is no requirement to follow and illegal or immoral order .. and when i was trained .. there was even a requirement to resist such and order ..

so that all in all .. i’m amazed at how much the military has changed under the “all volunteer services” ..and i was heartend to read in the mayer article that the “old spirit” is still alive in the officer corps .. even if that spirit is now only present in a small number …

semper fi christy .. and keep up the faith .. it is my considered and firm opinion that justice and the law will prevail .. the excusers .. apologists ..and aid-and-abet’ers notwithstanding ..


Jkat | Wednesday February 18, 2009 10:55 am 95
In response to WVAPA @ 93

i agree with you and second that position .. we are a “nation of laws” .. and we need to enforce the laws regardless of the high political office of the violators ..


Cujo359 | Wednesday February 18, 2009 12:07 pm 96
In response to Jkat @ 94

And yet, I think if the folks in charge go along, as they did both in uniform and out, most of those people would go along, too. That’s the lesson here, I’m afraid.

I spent a long time as a defense contractor. You’d never know it from the results in Iraq, but there are rules that apply to all federal contracts about how they are supposed to be administered to ensure that the work is being done properly and that expenses are properly accounted for. Given the opportunity, plenty of folks who had received all the briefings on ethics were happy to ignore them. People who will really stand up in those situations are rare, and should be cherished.


Jkat | Wednesday February 18, 2009 12:57 pm 97

yeah cujo .. i agree .. i’m old corps .. 12 years credited service ..from VN to beriut .. active and reserves culminating in a medical discharge in ‘88 .. so i don’t know much about the modern all-volunteer services .. but the services used to attempt to instill integrity .. which is a hopeless task unless the instillee has some basic form to build upon ..

i was just so proud to read that some spark of that old-timey integrity and grit was alive yet .. in spite of the rigors of “a new kind of war” and a recaltriant executive hell-bent on subverting the law ..

i think these offficers and nco’s who went against the grain and the spirit of vindicitve incarceration to exhibit their inherent humanity are the finest examples of our men and women in uniform today .. just as the JAGS who stood up and fought against what they felt were unfair procedures are ..

and.. like you .. i have been dismayed by all the recent stories coming out of various “contracting officers” in iraq being implicated in scams and outright fraud .. i suppose pallets of untracable shrink-wrapped 100$ bills .. virtually unaccountable .. are a huge temptation ..

but // it’s all subject to the same cure-all … enforce the laws .. investigate .. indict .. convict ..”pour les encourager les autres” ..

[sigh] ..


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