Saturday, December 9, 2006
The Bush administration asserted in federal court yesterday that DefenseSecretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and three former military officials cannot be held liable for the alleged torture of nine Afghans and Iraqis in U.S. militarydetention camps because the detainees have no standing to sue in U.S.courts.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General C. Frederick Beckner III also argued that a decision by the court to let a trial proceed would amount to an infringement by the judiciary on the president's power to wage war and would open the door to new litigation in U.S. courts by foreign nationals who feel aggrieved by U.S. government policies.
NB. Sen. McCain has argued previously that we don't want to encourage torture because that would encourage "them" to torture Americans. He should know because he was held captive by the Vietcong. So why would we not want to show the whole world that we will enforce the law, whether or not the law is sought to be enforced by "foreigners"? Comments anybody?
Do we really want to demonstrate that the President's power to wage war will include everything, even the power to order torture and turn a blind eye to violations of basic human rights? Even the possibility of that power? The fact that this is even a debatable question is itself rather curious in my view. This is the old "ends will justify the means" slog. But here, it is highly questionable whether getting somebody to say something under extreme coercion yields useful and accurate information. One more thing, inflicting extreme pain and suffering, and torture, must really be seen as simple retaliation and retribution for being on the wrong side of conflict, and wrong, because there is not one case that has been brought to the public's attention where torturing somebody has yielded useful information. And even if it did and that has not been brought to our attention it is still wrong absolutely, and a good way to keep our enemies even more dedicated to harming us.