On Point Debate With Professor Robert Turner

logo2I just completed the discussion below on NPR’s On Point with Professor Robert Turner of the University of Virginia. It shows the flood of different rationales being put forward from every quarter to excuse not investigating war crimes.

My favorite point is when Professor Turner argues that investigating people who tortured detainee would be like investigating a soldier who shot a man on his way to the Rod and Gun club. Hmmm.

For the debate, click here.

27 thoughts on “On Point Debate With Professor Robert Turner”

  1. From today’s LAT…


    “…The report shows that military and intelligence officials started planning harsh techniques as early as February 2002, seven months before the tactics were approved by the Justice Department.

    The 200-page Senate report was completed in November. Defense Department officials only recently signed off on its release.

    In summer 2002, the document said, the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which oversees the SERE schools, was asked to help overcome resistance by suspected Al Qaeda operatives to interrogations…”

  2. at least one other memorandum on CIA interrogations remains undisclosed: a 2007 opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on what a new interpretation of the Geneva Conventions’ Common Article 3 meant for the agency’s “enhanced interrogation program.”


    Rumsfeld was finally fired by Bush in 2006 – right after Democrats reclaimed the majority. He was a liability with few allies who most would like to have seen replaced months, even years, sooner.

    In fact, Bob Gates, asked to stay on, still holds the position today…


    As with so many issues in Washington, the best way to understand how policy is made is to follow the money –? and there is a lot of post-Sept. 11 money to follow, much of it set in motion by the urgency of the 2001 attacks.

    “Decisionmakers had a lot of unexpected needs,” Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr., former assistant secretary of state for political- military affairs, told ICIJ in an interview. “None of what they needed was in the budget, because the budget system is so nailed down. We spent our days trying to figure out how to do something legally and trying to hot-wire (the budget) to address things that needed to get done. So you twist the wires, and you reconnect them in so many ways. At the end of the day, who had the money? It was the Pentagon.”

    The wire-twisting resulted in three new, important programs with billions to distribute — Coalition Support Funds, the Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program and a military training program called Section 1206 (named for a section in a defense authorization bill).

    In August, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that some changes could create new problems for these agencies, charging “we would not want to place new barriers or filters between military combatant commanders and those agencies when they perform as combat-support agencies.”

  3. This is interesting, perhaps I will send this story to Dr., they never heard of Common Article 3, Turner:

    “But despite President Obama’s declaration that releasing the four Justice Department memos disclosed Friday would end “a dark and painful chapter in our history,” at least one other memorandum on CIA interrogations remains undisclosed: a 2007 opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on what a new interpretation of the Geneva Conventions’ Common Article 3 meant for the agency’s “enhanced interrogation program.”

    A former senior intelligence official, who would not speak for the record, said that in 2007, the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Bradbury, issued a still-secret memorandum authorizing an updated CIA interrogation regimen. The Justice Department issued the document after months of internal Bush administration debate, a Supreme Court decision in 2006 that extended protections from Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to enemy combatants in U.S. custody, a piece of new legislation responding to the Court’s decision and a presidential executive order on interrogations.” (from TPM)

  4. mespo,

    That was egregious! What did he think Gitmo was for in the first place? Cheney and his BFF addington were in the basement of the WH the afternoon of 9/11 devising ways to subvert Common Article 3. Mr. Turner kept saying he didn’t know that much about one topic after another. Those were the only times he made sense!

  5. Again, I repeat a WaPo article by Dana Priest highlighting the present policy/position vs position/policy ‘conundrum’ which the Bybee memo resolves, in my view. And which includes reference and evidence to Rumsfeld’s desirous hand in providing the administration cover as far as it would go, along the way and
    ‘up to the line’ of legal, by his own admission statement.

    p.s. In the future, mespo, before generously assigning credit, not due Jill, check to see from where the ‘post/imposter swiped her inspirations from, originally… 😉

    I also request your support in discouraging anal infantile pica potty mouths. Thanks!


    Patty C 1, July 25, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    ‘04 WP article from my ‘greatest hits’…

  6. JIll:

    You are right about that absolute fraud spread like manure by Prof. Turner that Cheney, Rumsfield et als were so woefully ignorant of international law that they mistakenly stumbled into torture.(I am planning to kill my wife without cause–I must consult my lawyer to determine the legality of this situation!)What a crock of Turner! Legions of experts at every building in the District and the highest officials in the land are led like mice by a law professor, a future federal judge, and a pied piper I suppose on matters of law and conscience. Spare me the foolishness–do I look that dumb, Professor Turner? I know lawyer shopping clients and boot licking lawyers when I see them. Maybe I should teach too.

  7. After hearing the sagacious debating style of Professor Turner from UVA, I am overjoyed at my decision to head east on I-64 rather than west to complete my legal education. At the University of Richmond we learned that bullsh*t will not equal rational argument on matters of substance. Thank you Con. Law Professor Gary Leedes from a grateful student.

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