October 04, 2007

What kind of nation have we become?

From the NYT (linked by every blog in creation, I know, but in case you missed those other blogs):

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture "abhorrent" in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.


Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard.

The classified opinions, never previously disclosed, are a hidden legacy of President Bush’s second term and Mr. Gonzales’s tenure at the Justice Department, where he moved quickly to align it with the White House after a 2004 rebellion by staff lawyers that had thrown policies on surveillance and detention into turmoil.

Congress and the Supreme Court have intervened repeatedly in the last two years to impose limits on interrogations, and the administration has responded as a policy matter by dropping the most extreme techniques. But the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums, officials said. They show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics.

So lemme get this straight. The United States of America's own Justice Department publicly declares torture abhorrent and says the country's intelligence and military agencies shouldn't do it anymore, while privately writing memos saying it's just fine to do it, and by the way if you do it in more nasty ways than ever before, it's OK, because now you have our internal memos approving it.

Dear God. Impeach Bush. Impeach Cheney. Charge them as well as Addington, Gonzales, and Yoo with crimes against humanity. It's the only way we'll ever redeem our honor, both domestically and internationally.

Posted by Linkmeister at October 4, 2007 09:22 AM | TrackBack