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What Were The Torture Lawyers Thinking?

A long-awaited internal Justice Department report promises to shed some much-needed light on the relationship between the Justice Department lawyers who wrote the infamous "torture memos" and the White House. The central question, of course: Whether the lawyers were themselves just following orders.

The report has not yet been released -- or even finalized -- but a growing number of leaks make it clear that the internal inquiry concluded that the memos were legally indefensible.

The report also apparently includes e-mails between the lawyers and the White House. But what's not clear to me at this point is whether the report reaches a definitive conclusion about whether the wild legal arguments were the result of a profound lack of judgment by the lawyers or were consciously concocted to justify techniques the White House had already approved. (Or both.)

The inquiry has apparently concluded that two lawyers in particular committed serious enough lapses to merit disciplinary action by their state bars -- though not criminal prosecution. That suggests the investigators didn't find "smoking gun" evidence of a conspiracy to violate federal statutes. But there's sure to be a lot of fascinating material in their report nonetheless.

David Johnston and Scott Shane write in the New York Times: "An internal Justice Department inquiry has concluded that Bush administration lawyers committed serious lapses of judgment in writing secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations but that they should not be prosecuted, according to government officials briefed on its findings.

"The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask state bar associations to consider possible disciplinary action, which could include reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions, the officials said....

"The draft report is described as very detailed, tracing e-mail messages between the Justice Department lawyers and officials at the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency. Among the questions it is expected to consider is whether the memos were an independent judgment of the limits of the federal anti-torture statute or were deliberately skewed to justify the use of techniques proposed by the C.I.A.....

"The main targets of criticism are John Yoo, Jay S. Bybee and Steven G. Bradbury, who, as senior officials of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, were principal authors of the opinions."

Josh Meyer and Julian E. Barnes write in the Los Angeles Times: "The OPR investigation found that memos attempting to make organ failure the defining line between pain and torture was something any lawyer would find unreasonable. It also concluded that Bybee and Yoo had violated a lawyer's duty to provide 'reasonable legal advice,' according to one source familiar with the report."

The report is apparently frustrating people on both sides of the torture divide. Carrie Johnson writes in The Washington Post about this development: "Former Bush administration officials have launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.

"Representatives for John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, subjects of the ethics probe, have encouraged former Justice Department and White House officials to contact new officials at the department to point out the troubling precedent of imposing sanctions on legal advisers, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is not complete."

And Devlin Barrett writes for the Associated Press: "Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, called the decision not to seek criminal charges 'inconceivable, given all that we know about the twisted logic of these memos.'

"Warren argued the only reason for such a decision 'is to provide political cover for people inside the Obama White House so they don't have to pursue what needs to be done.'"

Andrew Sullivan blogs for the Atlantic: "Who in the White House ordered up these memos to provide phony legal cover for a plainly illegal torture policy already decided upon? That's what we need to find out."

Marc Ambinder blogs for the Atlantic that the draft report "suggests that, at the direction of the White House, the OLC worked to justify a policy that had already been determined and did not begin their inquiry from a neutral position."

Emily Pierce writes for Roll Call that the "explosive report...could set the stage for potential judicial impeachment hearings in the House and for a renewed partisan battle over how the previous administration approved the use of harsh interrogation methods against detainees."

Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Sheldon Whitehouse released a statement yesterday expressing their disappointment that Bradbury was allowed "to participate in OLC’s 'review and response’ to the report - despite the fact that he played a leading role in drafting the memos under review." But, they wrote, "we look forward to the prompt completion of this report, and we are pleased by the strong implication in the letter that former OPR chief Marshall Jarrett’s pledge to release the report will be honored."

Ari Shapiro reports for NPR: "The Justice Department has been trying not to make the investigation seem like a witch hunt. Some congressional staffers complain that the effort has gone too far. They are especially critical of the decision to allow Bradbury to participate in the inquiry as acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel.

"'How they could have made the decision to let him be part of the official review, not as a target, but as acting head of OLC, boggles the mind,' one Judiciary Committee staffer said."

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 6, 2009; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Torture  
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Comments

Is anyone really, really surprised that these folks are refusing to accept the consequences of what they did? Love him or hate him, at least President Nxion stuck to his guns about Watergate. It's a shem these folks don't have the gumpshin to stand behind what they wrote.

Posted by: kcsphil | May 6, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Of course even if Judge Bybee is impeached, he can retain his seat on the ninth circuit court since it takes 67 votes in the Senate to remove a person from office and no Republican is going to vote to remove him. And the Conservadems can be counted on to vote with the Republicans, so there will be only 45-50 votes for removal. (BTW, I bet that Reid votes against removing Bybee, since they are both Mormons.)

Posted by: dickdata | May 6, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Organ failure is a standard was not only unreasonable, it is ridiculous. Take it from someone who has had it, organ failure is not necessarily painful. My kidneys failed, and the worst of the "pain" was nausea and fatigue. And heart failure often does not even wake people from their sleep.

For crying out loud, just where did they get this as an idea?

Posted by: RealCalGal | May 6, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Bradbury's self-evident conflict of interest in conducting this review demonstrates why Attorney General Holder must appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate whether Justice Department lawyers conspired with White House officials to authorize war crimes.

Posted by: bprittenhouse | May 6, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"Representatives for John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, subjects of the ethics probe, have encouraged former Justice Department and White House officials to contact new officials at the department to point out the troubling precedent of imposing sanctions on legal advisers.."

Let me tell you: that's not the *only* troubling precedent we're dealing with here! The idea that a lawyer can write a memo and make torture legal does not fly. It didn't fly at Nuremberg, and it's not going to fly this time either.

Posted by: fzdybel | May 6, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Bradbury's self-evident conflict of interest in conducting this review demonstrates why Attorney General Holder must appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate whether Justice Department lawyers conspired with White House officials to authorize war crimes.

--------------

Agreed.

But I wouldn't count it.

The issue isn't going away, though, despite their best efforts, and that's a good thing.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | May 6, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The only use this report may actually have is the provision of details, leads and facts.
To allow the targets of an investigation to participate in a report is akin to allowing major criminals to participate in a grand jury procedure regarding disposition of their crimes.
It's an outrage.
dickdata wants to turn this into a political circus (the theory behind allowing the targets to participate).
This is not a political circus.
This is our country cleaning house of corruption.
When the facts are laid out in the clear light of day, don't count on GOP lawmakers to stand firm against disbarment.
I noted in the New York Times that a friend of Bybee had dinner with him and apparently something was said that got into the report.
The friend, a law school professor and legal scholar, in a letter to the Times, tries to walk the razor, protecting himself while not doing more damage to his friend.
The most basic characteristic a lawyer has in his profession is his integrity.
The 3 authors of the memos hung themselves out to dry by caving in to the pressure and demands of the Bush adminstration to bend the law to the will of the neocons and are now trying to cover their shame.
But the report does shed some useful and interesting light into the dark hole into which all these gameplayers sunk in this nefarious exercise to justify the commission of international crimes.
The real problem is it stinks down in that dark hole.
But somebody has to clean this mess up.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | May 6, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

If the President and the US Congress intend for our fragile republic to last another 3.5 years they had better start putting these criminals in jail. NOW!!!!!

Posted by: mdsinc | May 6, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Let's be clear! These were no "good faith" legal opinions. These lawyers were tasked with providing, and produced, legal indulgences for acknowledged criminal acts.

Posted by: casianoj | May 6, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Former Lt Col Wilkinson, chief of staff of former Secretary of State Colin Powell just stated on MSNBC that he stands with Mr. Powell, who today in the Huffington Post, called for disbarment of the attorneys who crafted the memos, a special prosecutor "armed to the teeth" and prosecution of the masterminds of the policy of torture.
He said that (he's not a lawyer) then-Secretary Powell asked him to check into the Abu Ghraib situation because there was some indication that this was not "a few apples gone sour" as the administration was implying at the time, but more likely a matter of administration policy.
Secretary Powell wanted to know if his suspicion was correct.
Today, these two men, Powell and Wilkinson are recommending that sanctions be firm, harsh and clear, so that this does not happen again.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | May 6, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

In regard to the Torture Facilitators and Progenitors--

Hopefully, bar associations will strip those among them of their legal credentials.

If we can't prosecute for all the various reasons given, and want to go along with Obama's charity in these matters, why can't we CELEBRATE those individuals who objected to the Torture Policies in a dramatic, meaningful way???

Posted by: Spectator | May 6, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Are we now seeing where this is all going? The actual CIA torturers were just following orders and won't be prosecuted. The lawyers who made up the bizarre legal justification might get their hands slapped after the report language is "softened". Next we will find that the decision makers were just doing what the lawyers said they were allowed to do.

So no one is guilty of torture? I guess it didn't happen and everything is fine. No one will face the music. Except those one or two Abu Ghraib "rotten apples" that were acting on their own.

Posted by: tfspa | May 6, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The inquiry has apparently concluded that two lawyers in particular committed serious enough lapses to merit disciplinary action by their state bars -- though not criminal prosecution. That suggests the investigators didn't find "smoking gun" evidence of a conspiracy to violate federal statutes.
________
So that's IT? TWO lawyers will get there hands slapped??? Froomkin what a LOSER you are. All this moaning and crying (someone would think you were the one being tortured) and there will be NO prosecutions for Bush, Cheney and the rest. To bad Sullivan to bad OberA$$... Now hopefully this country can move on to more important things like fixing the economy and winning the war on terror...

Posted by: sovine08 | May 6, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

...why can't we CELEBRATE those individuals who objected to the Torture Policies in a dramatic, meaningful way???
__________
Spectator, great idea. But I can't think of one person that qualifies. Or was that your point?


Posted by: tfspa | May 6, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

By coincidence, I read a brand new 9th Circuit opinion that Bybee had penned the same week that I read his original torture memo. The contrast in quality was striking. Bybee and Yoo were not novices; they knew how to put together a solid legal analysis of the torture statutes. Their failure to do so in the torture memos can only be described as deliberate and, quite likely, criminal.

Posted by: tmoore1 | May 6, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Nothing less than an independent Special Prosecutor will ever satisfy this American. The Obama administration will only taint themselves by negotiating with the criminals and whitewashing their evil acts. This includes Colin Powell who lied to the world about the reasons to invade a nation which posed no threat to the United States.

Although I believe that the criminals should be brought to justice I realize that those who supported them, the majority of Americans, want to proceed as though it never happened. The main stream media, who aided and abetted the criminals by spreading their lies as truth, have already moved on. There are only a few truth tellers, such as Dan Froomkin, who are fruitlessly trying to keep the story alive.

Posted by: frazeysburger | May 6, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

sovine08 wrote:
"So that's IT?
TWO lawyers will get there hands slapped???" ==
Relax, sovine.
This is a dark, dank hole with a distinct whiff of corruption.
I can smell the Pinesol now ...
The neo-cons and their lawyers will never get away so easily.
Colin Powell shows lawyers how to be a man of integrity.
Military training pays off.
(See my comments.)
Sometimes lawyers forget what they are about when they practice law.
Don't blame Dan Froomkin.
All he's doing is reporting reaction to the release of this report.
He's leaving it up to us to comment on what to do with the corrupted mess left behind by the war criminals who instigated and tried to protect themselves.
This is why we need professional journalists reporting the news about the issues we care about.
Of course, the defenders of the neo-cons on this board will accuse Froomkin of left-wing opining just for reporting the facts and the reactions.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | May 6, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Congrats, sovine08, this is the first torture thread in which you haven't equated voluntary activities with detainee torture. Either the concept finally sunk in, or perhaps the excitement of getting to call someone on the internet a loser just distracted you.

P.S. disbarment isn't exactly a slap on the wrist.
P.P.S. this was only a report. It's not over, and your treasonous heroes will eventually be held accountable.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | May 6, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that it is irrelevant whether these "lawyers" were following orders or not. An attorney's admission to any particular bar requires an oath to follow the law and there are numerous ethics regulations that prohibit productions of clearly baseless work product, whether it's what the client wanted (demanded) or not.

Posted by: eddiehaskel | May 6, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Because we live under a system of Laws not Justice, all of this is just a bunch of lawyers sitting around and pontificating; they will weasel out of any justice. However, as we tried people for water boarding, etc. after WW II we will look like a country of hypocritical jackasses that don't know our own history. Having spent 30 years in the Navy and developed at least some feeling for the idea of personal responsibility and accountability for the actions of my subordinates I feel very comfortable calling for at least some sort of "truth commission" that goes to the top of the food chain as opposed to going after all the players on the bottom.

Posted by: jdlusnret | May 6, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

They were thinking that Democrats wouldn't have the balls to prosecute anyone over anything, not even torture and murder.

They were right.

Posted by: davidbn27 | May 6, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Here are my thoughts in my blog post about the OPR report and the Post's reporting about the behind the scenes lobbying. I call it Working the Refs.


http://democracity.blogspot.com/2009/05/working-refs.html

Posted by: pmorlan1 | May 6, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

These government lawyers were tasked with coming up with a defense for the American Inquisition that was already in progress. They were not preparing legal permission to start the program.

Ordinarily, the war criminals would have been defended by their own personal criminal lawyers who would have had to torture logic on their behalf. But in a case like this, where the entire government is criminal, it must have seemed logical to have government lawyers rationalize the criminality of its officers.

I really wish some civil rights lawyer would file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Muslims, since the only people singled out for persecution, torture and execution without trial were Muslims. It is racial and religious persecution, unless the Inquisition can show that any Christians or Jews were tortured and deprived of all internationally recognized human rights.

Posted by: motorfriend | May 6, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

At Nuremberg, it was pointed out that enablers (lawyers) were just as guilty as perpetrators and following orders is not an excuse.

The World court at the Hague and the Special Spanish Courts were created to deal with the Bush and Obama situation. Governments whose court systems refuse to deal with war crimes occurring on their watch and on their turf. If the US refuses to deal with war crimes that it perpetrated on its watch, then the international courts have been empowered to do so.

We will just have to wait for the international courts’ investigations to complete as only stone-walling will occur in the US.

Posted by: MrZ2 | May 6, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Atten: Dan Froomkin. Re: Your column of 5-06-"09, on Torture.
I hate, abhor and detest those who torture
human beings, and those who suborne torturers those who protect torturers. The current administration can never get the support of honest, decent people if it's going to defend and protect the sadistic crowd who admire torturers.
Cyrano says I'll do anything to help get those torturers disciplined, to get rid of the pungent and bad smelling aroma that hanks like a cloud over our government.
Cyrano says it stinks, because it does.

Posted by: Cyrano | May 6, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Judy-in-TX
Colin Powell shows lawyers how to be a man of integrity.
Military training pays off.

_______
Oh please.. you mean the guy who went before the U.N. to convince the world Saddam had WMD??? That Powell??? I guess you didn't see his interview with Rachel Maddow. He all but admitted he knew what was going on.. would NOT admit any of it was torture and would not take resonsibility for any of it. Is the the integrity you were talking about??? The only reason Powell gets a pass is because the Left like Powell. Which again proves this isn't about justice it's about getting BUSH!!!

Posted by: Judy-in-TX
Don't blame Dan Froomkin.
All he's doing is reporting reaction to the release of this report.
_____
All Froomkin is doing is contiuning his obsession against Bush. He is by writing ONE SIDED articles quoting only left wing sources to try to get Bush one more time.
The fact that this could, i said would spilt this country apart and drag our country threw the mud in the process means nothing to him...

Posted by: Judy-in-TX
He's leaving it up to us to comment on what to do with the corrupted mess left behind by the war criminals who instigated and tried to protect themselves.
______
Protect themselves from WHAT??? What we know from the report is there is not enough for any crimminal prosecution. and this what Froomkin is saying.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX
This is why we need professional journalists reporting the news about the issues we care about.
________
Yeah and Froomkin doesn't qualify...

Posted by: Judy-in-TX
Of course, the defenders of the neo-cons on this board will accuse Froomkin of left-wing opining just for reporting the facts and the reactions.
____
You have got to be kidding me.. You think Froomkin isn't biased and only prints the facts???? Wow I didn't think anyone was that naive...


Posted by: sovine08 | May 6, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Atten: Dan Froomkin. Please submit this torturing claim to the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, in the Netherlands. They've got the courage to do something about it, even though our Govenment is so lacking in backbone and knowledge in what's right and Wrong, it wont take the legitimate action. Perhaps Spain is on the correct course of action.
Signed: Cyrano.

Posted by: Cyrano | May 6, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

George W. Bush used to blow up frogs with firecrackers for fun and games as a child(Peta) and his Unka Dicky merely wanted to create a reason to attack Iraq (to get their oil). Those two have always been war criminals; why would they hire anyone who thought that they could be stopped from committing their war crimes? Remember that Paul Wolfowitz told Congress in 2003 that the Iraq war would pay for itself with Iraq's oil? Bush and Cheney should have been impeached and their employees who created such unbelieveably contorted justifications for utilizing the act of torture to get those captured to say that Iraq was behind the 911 attack should be at the very least disbarred. Bush purposely ignored all the warnings about Osama bin Laden wanting to attack the United States homeland. Why? Because an attack allowed Cheney to get the criminally insane puppet to pre-emptively attack a sovereign nation without just cause. Gee duh! Prosecution is the only way that our country's soul can be cleansed.

Posted by: sailorflat | May 6, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Does BO's DOJ really think we're all going to sit on some sideline and watch this bs- letting these miscreant lawyers' war crimes go unpunished to stain all the rest of us? Please.

And leaving it to the State BarAssocs is infantile.

Posted by: NatalieF | May 6, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

We "moved on" after watergate and we got stuck with Cheney and Rumsfield. We moved on after Iran/Contra. Now Obama wants to move on and ignore the crimes of the bush administration (torture, murder, theft, illegal wiretapping to name a few). Frankly we need to get rid of all of them in Washington. We need term limits. If Obama is so niave to believe that the Republicans will move on with regards to any of his indiscretions he is a fool. Im totally disgusted with all of them. Its time for a new party one that believes in the rule of law and accountability.

Posted by: sonia38 | May 6, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

i believe the germans put it, "befehl ist befehl". we didn't swallow that in 1946, and we shouldn't now.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | May 6, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

'includes e-mails between the lawyers and the White House..'
Would these happen to be part of the famous missing emails ? There is no doubt all those missing emails were full of smoking guns - else they would have been retained...

Posted by: smallcage | May 6, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Froomkin,
Please do not let up on this issue. The whole world watched while "a few bad apples" committed torture and they are watching while we wring our hands over what to do about it. What our nation does about this international crime will cement our reputation and prestige. No one else is writing about this as much as you. Dig your teeth in and don't let go until justice is done and honor restored.

Posted by: mdenny1 | May 6, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seems to be having problems adjusting to life as an ordinary citizen. She was captured on UTUBE being questioned by a Stanford student. The student asked about torture. Her answer, “we didn’t torture anybody”, sounded unconvincing and a bit desperate. If she hasn’t already, Rice needs to read the latest Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Rice also said she only passed on the authorization to waterboard from the Justice Department to the CIA. Former Watergate conspirator John Dean, a lawyer who should know about these things, said that Rice’s admission may involve her in a conspiracy to commit a crime. Rice also argued, reminiscent of Nixon’s famous remark, “if the President ordered it, it is not illegal,”

Rice’s problem of adjusting to normal life escalated when she visited a Jewish elementary school in Washington D.C, on May 4th. In a classic case of, “are you smarter than a fifth grader?” Rice was asked again about torture and waterboarding. She repeated her claim that “we did not torture anyone”. She pleaded for understanding the atmosphere right after 9/11 when everyone was concerned about another attack. Fair enough.

She added “President Bush ordered that we do nothing illegal to violate the Convention Against Torture”; however, the Convention states clearly that no emergency whatsoever can be used to justify torture.

Rice’s problems may have only just begun. The Attorney General of Spain is considering indicting high officials of the Bush Administration for torture.

Posted by: PaulFerris | May 6, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

After the release of the Bybee-Bradbury memos and the International Committee of the Red Cross report on the treatment of Al Qaeda detainees, many defenders of President Bush’s “alternative set of procedures” no longer claim the procedures were not torture. They are now arguing that, even if they were torture, the procedures were justified because they were effective. Let’s examine three cases.

First, how effective was torture in the case of Ayman al-Zawahiri? He was tortured as a young man in Egyptian prisons. After his release, he and fellow tortured prisoners joined Al-Qaeda. He is second in command to Osama Bin Laden. He is wanted for the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Second, how effective was torture in the case of Ibn Sheik, Al Libi? The CIA rendered him to Egypt for forced confession under torture. Once al Libi figured out what information his torturers wanted, he spun a tale claiming that two named Al Quaeda members went to Iraq where they were trained in the use of chemical and biological weapons. This “smoking gun intelligence” made its way into Colin Powell’s February 2003 United Nations speech making the case for the Bush Administration imminent attack on Iraq. Later Colin Powell retracted this vital portion of his speech as untrue.

Third, how effective was torture in the case of Mohammed Al-Qahtani, the reputed 20th hijacker? Susan J. Crawford, convening authority of military commissions, reviewing his treatment in Guantanamo, dropped all charges because the U.S. tortured him.

Torture? Effective? Really?


Posted by: PaulFerris | May 6, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The Bush Administration commited crimes against humanity and the Obama Administration is covering it up. This country is doomed!

Posted by: sux123 | May 6, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Rice’s problems may have only just begun. The Attorney General of Spain is considering indicting high officials of the Bush Administration for torture.
_____
You mean the country that created the inquisition.. the country that gave us Franco.. that country is now going to lecture us on torture??? Yeah I sure Bush, Cheney and Rice are shaking in their boots. I mean imagine.. they might have to cancel their vacation plans to Spain. How will they ever live with that..

Posted by: sovine08 | May 6, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It is so thorughly disgusting that persons in our current federal government(Obama) are covering up for the former government(Bush). I guess we no longer actually have a federal government if this is the result. They're WAR CRIMINALS! There is NO REASON to excuse these war criminals. The individuals who wrote this garbage and the officials who required it to commit their war crimes need to be brought to justice; no ifs, ands or buts. WAR CRIMINALS!!! If the United States stands for anything, then the entire Bush Administration requires prosecution. End of discussion.

Posted by: sailorflat | May 6, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I just finished reading "The Fix" article about the latest CNN poll regarding torture. It is no surprise that a majority of Americans believe that it is okay to torture other human beings. Welcome to our Christian nation!

Those who bankrupted the United States of America both economically and morally will never be brought to justice. The Great American Experiment has failed!

Posted by: frazeysburger | May 6, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The Great American Experiment has failed!
Posted by: frazeysburger
____
Let me see if I got this straight. The great American experiment didn't fail with our treatment of the American Indians. It didn't fail with slavery. It didn't fail because we put 110,00 Japanese Americans in internment camps? It didn't fail when we dropped 2 Atomic bombs.. If failed because 3 terrorists were waterboarded so we could learn their plans about another attack of this country... That's what caused the great American experiment to fail!!!! Wow.. you think the Left might be over reacting just a little bit to this news???

Posted by: sovine08 | May 6, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

The CIA may have had some close calls with detainees nearly dying during interrogations: the May 10, 2005, Bush Administration torture memo by Stephen Bradbury notes that doctors were nearby to perform a tracheotomy if during waterboarding the suspect is approaching death.

“Most seriously, for reasons of physical fatigue of psychological resignation, the subject may simply give up, allowing excessive filling of the airways and loss of consciousness,” Bradbury wrote. “An unresponsive subject should be righted immediately, and the integrator should deliver a sub-xyphoid thrust to expel the water. If this fails to restore normal breathing, aggressive medical intervention is required….’”

Posted by: motorfriend | May 6, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Bradbury exonerates Bradbury - what better guarantee that this will continue to snowball?

Posted by: AlanDownunder | May 6, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I think Rice answered the question of where the decision to torture came from, when answering the query form the 10 year old boy, she said that President George W. Bush assured his administration that, "we would do nothing, nothing, that was against the law or against our obligations internationally."
Bush knew that he was making up the laws as he went. Being a historical light weight with no curiosity about anything other than his own delusions, Bush knew nothing of the Geneva conventions or our past judicial treatment of Japanese soldiers who committed the torture technique known as water boarding.
I sincerely hope that this fact will emerge and our nation can come to terms with the fact that we elected this man for TWO TERMS! We must hold Bush & Co. accountable so that our nation can begin to learn from our past mistakes. We owe it to future generations or they will be more likely doomed to repeat the same mistakes or worse.

Posted by: drum_sing | May 6, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

The lawyers were doing their duty to support the war effort. Same as a recruit joining the Marines or a CIA officer going into dangerous places.

Some think that impeachment of Bybee wil fail. I disagree. There will be many more Democrats in the Senate after the 2010 elections, as this gain is already baked into the cake. It is simply a matter of how many weak GOP seats and open GOP seats are up in the next cycle. The Dems could easily get to 67. Also, it is unlikely that the Senate will hear the case until 2011. Reid is a good vote counter, and they won't move it unless they have the votes. There doesn't seem to be a tremendous amount of urgency here. It is best for the Democrats to bring these things to a head as close to the election as possible.

Posted by: andrewp111 | May 7, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

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