Sunday, April 19, 2009

Judge not lest ye be judged?

I'm generally not a big fan of vindictiveness...the entertainment value of stringing the rascals up on lampposts after you've thrown them out is probably outweighed by the additional evasions and maneuvers that sort of policy induces. But the case of Judge Bybee (HT Uncommon Priors) finds me just a little bit bloodthirsty.

It's not easy going out into the world as a German. Even if you were born well past all the atrocities, and even your parents were merely children at the time, you are still faced with the prototype of the sadistic villain being the sadistic German. This makes it especially painful when your new adopted country stakes out the position that (non-consensual - I have no beef with the consensual kind) torture is really OK when it seems necessary or useful.

I don't know if the man is merely a well-meaning fool, but when Ackerman writes
Under the Constitution, impeachment requires a finding of "high crimes and misdemeanors." This is a high standard. Although Bybee's opinion fails minimum tests of legal competence, he may have acted in good faith. This should protect him from conviction. But his legal distortions might also be evidence of the abdication of his fundamental legal responsibilities. Instead of engaging in a good-faith interpretation of the War Crimes Act and the Geneva Conventions, he may have merely been responding to political pressures from the White House to liberate the CIA and the military from the rule of law.

Bybee should, of course, be given a full opportunity to clarify this matter at the impeachment proceedings. But at present, his only public explanation is his extravagant appeal to executive privilege. This cannot suffice. He should be required to take personal responsibility for his actions and explain why they don't make him into a systematic enabler of the war crimes that have disgraced America.

he has a point. I'd like to see the matter at least considered.

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