Is the ingenuity of our judges and lawyers so trifling we cannot establish that linkage without revealing things that are truly secret? (Establish waterboarding, for instance, without going into what questions the torturers were asking? Or conduct certain proceedings in camera?) Is it beyond all possibility to chart a judicial path to consequences for the people who did these things?
Posts Tagged ‘Abu Ghraib’
We can all agree that historical understandings of the dividing line between war and law enforcement do not fit well the kind of conflicts our nation faces today. But the solution to that quandary should not be to cede all discretion to an Executive that works in the shadows. There are other unaddressed needs at work, among them the imperative to cut the public in on the discussion and the decision-making.
It is tempting to view the stories told in [Eric] Boehlert’s two books, one chronicling the failure of the mainstream media to report the news and the other revealing the success of the blogs in doing so, as being parts of the same story. Maybe the mainstream media would not be failing from a business perspective were they not, most of the time, failing from a news-reporting perspective as well. Maybe the blogs would not be succeeding, albeit under their mostly profit-agnostic criteria, were they not beginning to seize the standard of bona fide reporting falling from the grasp of the mainstream media as they tumble lifeless upon the field of economic battle.
Just Following Orders [I]t can never be maintained that a military officer can justify himself for doing an unlawful act, by producing the order of his superior. Chief Justice Taney, Mitchell v. Harmony, 54 U.S. 115, 137 (1851) Last time, we started with the premise that the MPs who abused the detainees […]
“A Few Bad Apples” On October 19, 2003, Specialist Sabrina Harman of the 372nd Military Police Company picked up a Sony Cybershot camera and began taking photographs of life on Tier 1A at Abu Ghraib prison. She documented naked prisoners being stacked like cordwood, prisoners being threatened by attack dogs, hooded prisoners, beaten […]
Various Circles of Hell Jack L. B. Gohn Because of the agonizingly slow leakage of information concerning the previous administration’s practices of internment and interrogation of Muslim men, it is only recently that the Central Intelligence Agency component has come into focus. When the Abu Ghraib photos were first leaked to […]
A lawyer so brilliant he could not recognize when his own advice was bad: for his client, the President, and for the country. Disbar John Yoo.
And here is the moral, strategic, and tactical problem: How we can expect the world to accord full faith and credit to that court’s eventual verdict when we establish and countenance tribunals that are themselves human rights violations? A question urgently worth pondering.
When the International Committee of the Red Cross reported in February 2004 on our various Iraqi detention centers, they noted that at all of them, there seemed to be a single playbook – the real playbook – of practices focusing on the sexual and religious humiliation of those detainees deemed “high value,” i.e. most likely to yield Actionable Intel.
But we had better be prepared for the consequences. Someone, somewhere, is going to try us, quite seriously, for war crimes. And somewhere else, someone is going to commit war crimes against our soldiers because we fail to recognize their own combatants as POWs. And it won’t be pretty.