Bush Officials Surface To Answer Torture Claims

humorous-167_smallIn light of the recent defenses made recently on behalf of Judge Jay Bybee, John Yoo, and Steven Bradbury, this picture appears to capture their sudden emergence into the public debate.

Of course, it is important to get people to join you in the gutter when arguing that torture is excusable when committed by Americans or when torture works.. My favorite recent claim by Pat Buchanan that, since we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, anything short of atomic annihilation is now permissible — even if we later signed treaties promising to prosecute any American who engaged in torture.

72 thoughts on “Bush Officials Surface To Answer Torture Claims”

  1. Personally thats just ridiculous claims. Im sure he is not the only president who has approved torture to get information. Also dont forget about the high ranking memebers of our govements. I dont approve of any torture methods, but if were going to prosecute bush, will we be prosecuting past presidents?

  2. Bob,Esq.

    Thanks for finding that post and replying. With the current number of posts, mostly good, it is hard to keep up with who said/asked what.

    The rule of law is not as simple as people think.

  3. Former Federal LEO,

    I forgot to post a reply to your question regarding formalism.

    Formalism is one of about six or seven major schools of thought in jurisprudence; e.g. positivism, natural law, pragmatism, etc.

    Formalism, I find, is the best approach to constitutional questions, so long as you begin with a fundamental understanding of how the republic works; i.e. ‘rights confer power, not vice versa.’

    And yes, it is necessary that evidence be excluded as a procedural matter because not doing so, in a categorical imperative manner of speaking, will only result in more prosecutorial misconduct.



  4. Mike Spindell:

    “Is it your contention that the President’s statement that he prefers to “look forward” is thus politicizing the crime?”

    Not per se, but definitely pushing it in that direction; until as you say he ‘finalizes’ it by taking steps to ensure it’s buried.

    Re: attempted genocide. My point was to show you how I reconciled the problem of “thought crime” with actual crime.

    Criminal attempt is primarily based on the mens rea. Further, the impossibility of attempting to kill an entire class of people is irrelevant to the punishment. Accordingly, the increased punishment for the mens rea associated with ‘hate crimes’ seems to be resolved.

    Does that clarify it a bit?



  5. “The offense lay in making procedures for the commission of the crime and thereby legalizing the offense against country and humanity.”

    I agree with the above, where I’m unclear with your statement is:

    “Whether one politicizes crime directly or implicitly, viz “looking forward, the result is still the same and CANNOT be ignored.”

    Is it your contention that the President’s statement that he prefers to “look forward” is thus politicizing the crime? If so I don’t agree. To me that point would be reached when he says definitely we are only going to “look forward” and takes steps to ensure it. Up until then all the statements are like those you get in the opening rounds of a criminal case from both prosecution and defendant, opening verbiage to gauge one’s opponent and try to influence the potential jurors.

    “So what’s the problem with charging someone with the crime of “attempted genocide” I thought.”

    Well I’ve thought about it and as hard as thinking is for me at times, I’ve come to a conclusion. My assumption is that the impossibility defense is a non-starter if the defendant thinks a given planned murder is possible, even when it isn’t, then the steps he takes to make it happen are just as guilty because he was in his mind trying to kill, or get someone killed. i.e. simplistically. If I say I’m going to kill Joe and attack him with a plastic knife with a blunt edge, in my mind I’m trying to kill him. Now if I’ve got that right and remember you’re the lawyer, then the intention to commit genocide and taking steps in that direction i.e. Making a speech to a group and urging them to attack some defined group and kill them, should be punishable
    even if the crowd is responding with derision and catcalls.

    Yes I can see that, just as in the famous yelling fire in a theater. However, in this instance when you stretch the crime to blasphemy I think the State goes too far. My standard would be whether the statement is Mohammad is a pedophile versus anyone who believes in Mohammad believes in pedophilia and should be harmed. The latter is reasonably criminal, the former shouldn’t be. It is one thing to say “God hates fags” as that moron from Kansas does and another to take that next step and say we should kill them because of being gay.

    In saying that, I recognize that a third party could take that statement and use it to justify a murder and if it can be proven that the moron Reverend incited the murderer to act by his words then he would be culpable on some level criminally. I’m going to sleep, you make me think to hard Bob, it’s so much easier with dolts like FD.

  6. Mike Spindell,

    Yes Sir, I did leave out the all-important news media. Dis’ ‘sheer Internet thang is the real equalizer now, as we have discussed before. Thanks for the reminder that a free press is essential for the existence of a free society.

  7. Mike Spindell,

    You’re missing the big picture. Criminalizing politics is usurpation at best. However, politicizing crime is tyranny per se! Our entire republic, from inception to constitution, is founded upon the contradiction of tyranny; e.g. Declaration to separation of powers, etc.

    Legalizing criminal acts via the political process is the exercise of power beyond right which no one has a right to.

    Thus the reason I amplified my comment with:

    AMPLIFICATION: Politicizing crime, as a defense, is in fact legalizing crime; i.e. tyranny.

    Whether one politicizes crime directly or implicitly, viz “looking forward, the result is still the same and CANNOT be ignored.

    There is no issue of efficacy v. amount of torture applied to prisoner; since this analysis only results in varying predicates describing the crime. The offense lay in making procedures for the commission of the crime and thereby legalizing the offense against country and humanity.


    I noted you had a hard time with hate crimes. So did I. Then I thought of the crime of attempted murder and the fact that impossibility is no defense.

    So what’s the problem with charging someone with the crime of “attempted genocide” I thought.

    Think about it.

  8. MikeS:

    he sure did not run like a guy who wanted it. To tell you the truth I think the only guy that wanted it was Hukabee on the republican side and maybe Ron Paul but he was probably smart enough to know he couldnt win the nomination.

  9. “I think we ignored our once great Nation because we were all too busy working hard at our jobs, raising our families, obeying the laws, paying taxes, and assuming our politicians were honorable people and looking after our best interests, instead of their own.”

    I think that you are right on the money in this and it serves as an answer to those who deride the American people. I would add one other thing though to make the picture complete in my mind. That is that for the last 3 decades or so the American news media has served more as a propaganda outlet than as a provider of news. One needn’t even apply conspiracy theory to this to understand why it happened.

    Those in charge of the news began to see it as a source of profit, rather than a public service. Being of similar ages I’m sure you remember a time when the troubles of a singer, even a Frankie S., much less Amy Winehouse, would not appear on the Evening Newscasts. After the first 60 Minutes segment they give an encapsulated Financial Update which now ends with the Top Movie Box Office Draw for the weekend. Ed Murrow, Walter C., Chet, David et. al., who were all real newsmen, have been replaced by pretty faces and vapid happy talk. It has happened so subtly that most of us didn’t even notice that our own news had become as unreliable as TASS.

    The American Public, despite the snideness of intellectuals from both sides of the political spectrum, is not stupid, nor are they callous and uncaring. Hurricane Katrina showed that, despite some very bad reporting and that to me ended George Bush. Throughout this country we have in general a worthy society, that has been held back by propaganda and the advertising industry blinding people to what is truly valuable in life and it sure ain’t having the biggest house or driving the most expensive car. At the same time many of our religious leaders have failed their flocks by conflating religion with politics. By there teaching a revolutionary like Jesus, who eschewed violence, would have flown a bomber over Iraq. (Yes I know your religious views but this remark is not about the truth of religion)

    On your John McCain point, he is not and never has been a patch on Barry Goldwater’s ass. While there is much about Goldwater with which I didn’t agree, he was a man sincere in his beliefs, who was capable of shifting his viewpoint when experience taught him differently. As such he was a national treasure as a Senator and I wish we had men like him in the Republican Party today.

    McCain on the other hand was an inveterate party’er luckily having the right lineage. He was a lousy pilot to boot, but his Father’s Admiralty made that go away. That he suffered terribly in Viet Nam was a fact but I must say something on that. Others around him suffered just as much, but they also tried and some did succeed in escaping, whereas he let the VC know from the beginning that he was the son of an important Admiral.

    Now I don’t pretend to be brave and all one would have to do to make me sign anything in that type of situation would have been to threaten torture. Call me unfair though, but I am a loyal person and given that his Father was the Admiral of the Pacific Fleet, they would have to have done a lot to me before I told them who I was, or let them break me. He was a survivor of terrible things and as such he should be honored, but he was no hero as were many others who paid the ultimate price.

    He returned from the war, to a severely injured wife and children and what did he do but again play around and party.
    His father arranged a cushy command for him that his service record didn’t merit. Through it he meets a rich young blond,
    ditches his wife and kids for her and moves to Arizona to enter politics. His record in the Senate was not one of conviction, but of expediency and he again escaped consequences via the Keating Five when he was just as guilty, by playing his war hero card. I know Viet Nam vets, some heroic and they never talk about their service, or use it as a selling tool. I disagree with Bron about his wanting to be President, because for an egotist like him he needed the office to finally outshine his ancestors. This is hardly a man to be admired and would have proved to be a President with at least as much incompetence as G.W.Bush. Who would have been his Cheney?

  10. Excerpts:

    Torture and Washington’s policy of aggressive war
    27 April 2009 by Alex Lantier


    “The use of torture is itself inseparable from the central criminal act that was sanctioned by the entire US political establishment—the launching of illegal and aggressive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This decision had far-reaching and tragic consequences, of which torture was only one. These wars of aggression caused the death, maiming and displacement of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the death and physical and mental scarring of thousands of American soldiers.”

    “The close link between torture and US wars of aggression again confirms the contention of the International Military Tribunal set up to prosecute the Nazi leadership at Nuremburg: “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

  11. “Feith Dares Obama to Enforce the Law”
    Created 2009-04-04 05:39
    By David Swanson

    Excerpt relative to Doug Feith of “Bush Six”;

    “But all of this is really the least of Feith’s worries, for there is a crime worse than torture, and the evidence [6] that he engaged in that worse crime is overwhelming [7]. I refer, of course, to the crime of aggressive war. In fact, when the Washington Post published [8] Feith’s defense of a memo he had written proposing that the United States aggressively attack “a non-Al Qaeda target like Iraq,” Feith’s defense seemed oblivious to the crime involved and did not even attempt to suggest that he had not urged a war of aggression ”

    The list of U.S. War Criminals includes: Bush, Cheney, Leahy, Obama, Biden, McCain, Reid, Clinton, Feinstein, Pelosi, Hatch, Specter, Cornyn, Byrd, Dodd and hundreds more in Congress who voted to initiate, fund, conspire and wage Wars of Aggression. According to international law they are complicit in ancillary conduct for War Crimes in the Wars of Aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan and murders in Pakistan. They are guilty of years of lies and deceit in crimes and cover-up of treason, fraud, perjury, mass murder – War Crimes, etc.

    The list of U.S. War Criminals includes all those in Congress who voted to invade Iraq, those who voted to fund the war and the continuing occupation and all the political, civil and military leaders of America responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the people in Obama’s cabinet and in his administration are War Criminals. Very few in the Bush Administration and Congress are NOT War Criminals. They are murderous fascists!

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