Black Days, Part 2

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

A quote from Philip Zelikow:

Which underscores the importance of moral analysis. There is an elementary distinction, too often lost, between the moral (and policy) question — “What should we do?” — and the legal question: “What can we do?” We live in a policy world too inclined to turn lawyers into surrogate priests granting a form of absolution. “The lawyers say it’s OK.” Well, not really. They say it might be legal. They don’t know about OK.

And in his section on the relevant legal opinions re OLC:

3. The legal opinions have grave weaknesses.

Weakest of all is the May 30 opinion, just because it had to get over the lowest standard — “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” in Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture. That standard was also being codified in the bill Senator John McCain was fighting to pass. It is also found in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, a standard that the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 does apply to these prisoners. Violation of Common Article 3 is a war crime under federal law (18 U.S.C. section 2441), a felony punishable by up to life imprisonment. (The OLC opinions do not discuss this law because in 2005 the administration also denied the applicability of Common Article 3.)

It seems to me, just to drive this point home, that while the “lawyers” provided their views, this past administration should be the subject of “fault finding” and prosecution.


3 responses to “Black Days, Part 2”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Lawyers have become “surrogate priests” as a result of American mentality. Due to the nature of being so litigious, people with responsibility seek only to be sure that what they are doing is legal. This might not apply in this case, however.

    But what is often overlooked is whether the decision is right, as you say. Many people file suits in this country, simply because it is legal.

    Some time ago, a friend was in a car accident, and went to her doctor. She was given a report of her health or what-not, and went on her way.

    When she filed the paperwork with her HMO, all her friends yelled at her, because they felt she should have sent that paperwork not to the HMO, but to a lawyer.

    For many, the normal sequence of visits after any accident is: 1) hospital or doctor; 2) lawyer. Forget merely healing and getting back on your feet as soon as possible. No, no. Rather, file a lawsuit against the other person for negligence to tray and avoid working as long as possible.

    I see no reason why politicians would be any different; some might surmise that it was they who invented these procedures originally.

  2. gibb says:

    In an individually irresponsible, finger-pointing society such as we are becoming, it is imperative that someone is nailed to a cross merely for show to appease the mob.

  3. Josh says:

    “…this past administration should be the subject of “fault finding” and prosecution.”

    So, yeah, this isn’t about making some real villains a little uncomfortable through tea time. This is all (still!) about a little payback for…Novemeber 2000?
    What else could it possibly be? It can’t be because of the Iraq invasion since that was about FAR more than a little sloppy intel (plus the skyrocketing oil prices gave the global warming socialists all kind of fuel for their cause).. and it can’t be about “Save the troops” since we have a volunteer military (read: these brave men and women sign up with the intent to defend the U.S.–and the rest of the free world that is too weak to defend itself).

    I’d like to drive this point home: I love how liberals care more about the well-being of the 2/26/93 & 9/11/01 mastermind than about the long-term care of our vets or the unborn child.