Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Assholes on Torture

I think Douglas Feith has finally given us the best label of all for this disastrous presidency. Of course, it's directed at those who think torture might possibly be a bad thing. He's calling me and you "assholes." Me, I'm proud to be a member of the asshole-based community.

The most important read on yesterday's release of John Woo's 2003 memo on torture is less the analysis of the memo. The memo itself, however fundamentally outrageous as a legal and moral document, really doesn't add much to the existing understanding of the administration's torture policy and previously public series of memos justifying the policy. Woo is clearly a legal hack, but I'm less concerned about that and more concerned about the manufacture of his memoranda at the top level of the US government. The Woo memos are prominent only because the administration sought justification for what it was already doing and would continue to do, and Woo provided a legal scapegoat.

But, if you're so inclined, check out Marty Lederman's lawyerly assessment here, here, here, and here. See also Jack Balkin's discussion here. Throw in Emily Bazelon's and Glenn Greenwald's discussions. But...

The most important piece today is by Phillippe Sands in Vanity Fair. It provides even more basis for what should be, ultimately, war crimes charges at the highest level of the government. This is the most important essay you could read thus far into the year if you're interested in the nature of your government. "Asshole" is an appellation of subtle beauty in comparison.

1 comment:

CKR said...

Feith probably thinks that calling others "assholes" is decent and justified. Makes up for his very own Google identity.