Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Supporters of Torture Aren't Supporters of Truth Either

Glenn Greenwald excoriates John Yoo for his appalling WSJ op-ed supporting Bush's policies of endless detention.

Yoo, for instance, claims that the Supreme Court in Boumediene allows "an alien who was captured fighting against the U.S. to use our courts to challenge his detention." But huge numbers of detainees in U.S. custody weren't "captured fighting against the U.S." at all. Many were taken from their homes. Others were just snatched off the street while engaged in the most mundane activities. Still others were abducted while in airports or at work.
The other deeply misleading claim in Yoo's Op-Ed is even more transparent. He characterizes the Court's decision as "grant[ing] captured al Qaeda terrorists the exact same rights as American citizens to a day in civilian court." What minimally self-respecting law professor would be willing to make this claim with a straight face?

The whole point of the habeas corpus right is that without a meaningful hearing, we don't know if the individuals our Government is imprisoning are really "al Qaeda terrorists" or something else. That ought to be too basic even to require pointing out. As this recent superb McClatchy article documents, scores of individuals detained at Guantanamo for years weren't "Al Qaeda terrorists" -- or any other kind of terrorists -- at all.

While disgusting, I cannot say I find this surprising. Once you start compromising basic moral principles, the slope becomes quite slippery and you find yourself compromising more and more in order to justify your actions. Yoo, Feith, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the other architects of the current administration's policies will continue to spout garbage like this until long after they are gone from the national stage. I hope that our next President can work to restore some of moral integrity.

1 comment:

kyle said...

phillipe sands has a great new book out (i'm about 1/2 way through it) called torture team. its a thorough examination of the lead up to the torture state we now live in.