Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

TAL on where we find ourselves today

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Very good post below, from The Anonymous Liberal. (And you should also read this one.)

Marty Lederman, a former OLC attorney, reacts to this truly astounding story from ABC News (you might want to read the ABC story first):

What can one add to this? And what does it tell us that the story has been met with a collective yawn from the rest of the media? We have become so accustomed, so inured, to what would once have been unthinkable, that a story such as this, right out of a bad B-movie, is seen as business-as-usual, dog-bites-man.

I have been reluctant to say such things before now, but those stubborn facts keep adding up, and, if the Greenburg story is accurate, it’s hard to resist the simple conclusion that Gonzales and others were engaged, not only in an effort to completely distort the proper function of OLC (see generally Jack Goldsmith’s book), but also in a conspiracy to violate the Torture Act and the War Crimes Act (which at the time prohibited such conduct). When responsible, thoughtful lawyers — loyal conservative, Republican lawyers, mind you — told them that what they had approved was unlawful, they got rid of the lawyers, and concocted alternative, and patently ridiculous, legal advice (and rewarded the lawyer who was willing to sign his name to that advice).

I’m trying to avoid hyperbole, honest. But how is this not a huge scandal, in form (but certainly not in degree) directly analogous to what we, at Nuremburg, prosecuted German Justice Department lawyers for having done? (And no, I am am not saying that the crimes committed here are analogous to those approved by German lawyers, so please don’t go there in the comments thread.)

When future generations look back on this era of American history, I’m increasingly convinced that the harshest verdicts will be saved for the lawyers, people like David Addington, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. These were the people who were supposed to be the brakes, not the gas. They’re the people who were supposed to speak up for the law and for the Constitution, the people whose job it was to ensure that we are governed by laws and not men. And not only did they abdicate this responsibility, they chose to use their power of interpretation to make a mockery of the law. That’s the worse kind of betrayal. It’s like a doctor who uses his knowledge to harm instead of heal. Such will be the legacy of the torture lawyers.

UPDATE: Then again, maybe we’ve already gone too far down this road.

Written by Leisureguy

5 November 2007 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Bush Administration, Congress

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