Thursday, February 10, 2005

Tortuous Definitions of Torture

Over at Slate, Peter Brooks (who holds a joint appointment in Law and English at UVA) has this post on the August 2002 Bybee torture memo . Brooks sees Bybee's failure to follow the "plain meaning" statutory interpretation guidelines reaffirmed by Chief Justice Rehnquist in LEOCAL v. Ashcroft, in which the Court noted that we construe statutory language "in its context and in light of the terms surrounding it," as:

[A] remarkable example of textual interpretation run amok—less "'lawyering as usual" than the work of some bizarre literary deconstructionist. And it's virtually impossible to read without wondering whether another casualty of this war on terror is the doctrine that words indeed mean what they say.

Of course, DoJ conceded the point that Bybee's statutory interpretation was flawed in the December 2004 memo to James Comey "withdrawing" the Bybee memo.

I wanted to respond to Julian's question that, if the allegations of torture at Gitmo are credible, why hasn't there been a serious call by leading politicians for investigations? The answer is undoubtedly complex -- and must surely include, in part, the political tone set by a President who refused to acknowledge that any senior officials should be held accountable for abuses that we do know took place. But the absence of outcry does not disprove that abuse tantamount to torture has taken place. Andrew Sullivan, in his recent essay that I mentioned here, raised the disturbing implications of the silence on the Hill and among the broader polity much more eloquently than I ever could:

But in a democracy, the responsibility is also wider. Did those of us who fought so passionately for a ruthless war against terrorists give an unwitting green light to these abuses? Were we naïve in believing that characterizing complex conflicts from Afghanistan to Iraq as a single simple war against ''evil'' might not filter down and lead to decisions that could dehumanize the enemy and lead to abuse? Did our conviction of our own rightness in this struggle make it hard for us to acknowledge when that good cause had become endangered? I fear the answer to each of these questions is yes.

American political polarization also contributed. Most of those who made the most fuss about these incidents - like Mark Danner or Seymour Hersh - were dedicated opponents of the war in the first place, and were eager to use this scandal to promote their agendas. Advocates of the war, especially those allied with the administration, kept relatively quiet, or attempted to belittle what had gone on, or made facile arguments that such things always occur in wartime. But it seems to me that those of us who are most committed to the Iraq intervention should be the most vociferous in highlighting these excrescences. Getting rid of this cancer within the system is essential to winning this war. I'm not saying that those who unwittingly made this torture possible are as guilty as those who inflicted it. I am saying that when the results are this horrifying, it's worth a thorough reassessment of rhetoric and war methods.


Perhaps the saddest evidence of our communal denial in this respect was the election campaign. The fact that American soldiers were guilty of torturing inmates to death barely came up. It went unmentioned in every one of the three presidential debates. John F. Kerry, the ''heroic'' protester of Vietnam, ducked the issue out of what? Fear? Ignorance? Or a belief that the American public ultimately did not care, that the consequences of seeming to criticize the conduct of troops would be more of an electoral liability than holding a president accountable for enabling the torture of innocents? I fear it was the last of these. Worse, I fear he may have been right.


5 Comments:

Blogger bila said...

I enjoyed your post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for posting. I’ll likely be coming back to your blog. Keep up great writing.
add url,blog add url,blog link exchange,link exchange blog,submit url,pasang links,tukeran link,add link,link blog,add url id

11/26/2009 11:52 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.03
kate spade handbags, louboutin outlet, longchamp, true religion jeans, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike free, oakley sunglasses, nike outlet, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, gucci outlet, coach outlet, oakley sunglasses, michael kors, coach outlet, kate spade outlet, coach factory outlet, christian louboutin outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, tory burch outlet, prada outlet, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, burberry, burberry outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, nike air max, prada handbags, longchamp outlet, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet, louboutin, tiffany and co, replica watches, nike air max, tiffany jewelry

8/02/2015 10:09 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

new balance pas cher, air force, vanessa bruno, hermes, nike roshe run, mulberry, lacoste pas cher, sac guess, air jordan pas cher, michael kors, ray ban uk, nike blazer, hollister pas cher, michael kors, tn pas cher, nike air max, nike free run uk, north face, ray ban pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, nike air max, converse pas cher, michael kors, hollister, abercrombie and fitch, nike free, true religion jeans, true religion jeans, air max, longchamp pas cher, burberry, nike air max, vans pas cher, hogan, ralph lauren uk, true religion outlet, north face, sac longchamp, lululemon, timberland, louboutin pas cher, oakley pas cher

8/02/2015 10:11 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

north face outlet, beats by dre, mont blanc, oakley, nfl jerseys, p90x workout, valentino shoes, birkin bag, insanity workout, vans shoes, nike huarache, soccer shoes, herve leger, celine handbags, new balance, nike roshe, mac cosmetics, abercrombie and fitch, asics running shoes, mcm handbags, reebok shoes, lululemon, nike roshe, bottega veneta, longchamp, jimmy choo shoes, giuseppe zanotti, wedding dresses, north face outlet, babyliss, chi flat iron, ferragamo shoes, iphone 6 cases, nike trainers, baseball bats, nike air max, hollister, ghd, soccer jerseys, instyler, timberland boots, hollister

8/02/2015 10:12 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

pandora charms, karen millen, ugg boots, juicy couture outlet, juicy couture outlet, swarovski, pandora jewelry, hollister, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, ugg boots, converse, hollister, supra shoes, louboutin, montre pas cher, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, vans, uggs on sale, marc jacobs, ralph lauren, toms shoes, bottes ugg, thomas sabo, gucci, lancel, pandora charms, ray ban, ugg pas cher, ugg boots, replica watches, links of london, ugg boots, wedding dresses, nike air max, swarovski crystal, ugg boots uk, coach outlet, converse outlet
ninest123 08.03

8/02/2015 10:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home