May 17, 2004

They Got The Memo

Newsweek finds the smoking gun memo:

... Bush, along with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, signed off on a secret system of detention and interrogation that opened the door to such methods, report National Security Correspondent John Barry, Senior Editor Michael Hirsh and Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff in the May 24 issue of Newsweek...

...By Jan. 25, 2002, according to a memo obtained by Newsweek, it was clear that President George W. Bush had already decided that the Geneva Conventions did not apply at all, either to the Taliban or Al Qaeda. In the memo, written to Bush by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, Gonzales laid out startlingly broad arguments that anticipated any objections to the conduct of U.S. soldiers or CIA interrogators in the future. "As you have said, the war against terrorism is a new kind of war," Gonzales wrote to Bush. Gonzales concluded in stark terms: "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions."

...The Bush administration's emerging approach was that America's enemies in this war were "unlawful" combatants without rights. [Ed. - Didn't many people say that no good would come of declaring people unlawful combatants? Another 'I told you so' that brings no damn satisfaction.]

...On Dec. 28, 2001, the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel weighed in with another opinion, arguing that U.S. courts had no jurisdiction to review the treatment of foreign prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The appeal of Gitmo from the start was that, in the view of administration lawyers, the base existed in a legal twilight zone -- or "the legal equivalent of outer space," as one former administration lawyer described it. And on Jan. 9, 2002, John Yoo of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel coauthored a sweeping 42-page memo concluding that neither the Geneva Conventions nor any of the laws of war applied to the conflict in Afghanistan. ...

The "legal equivalent of outer space," huh? You know this means that we should immediately consider drawing up a set of laws governing the conduct of U.S. government personnel in space. Better safe than sorry.

Posted by natasha at May 17, 2004 05:46 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |