Bush's Torture Policy

I haven't been able to get a copy of the New Yorker's forthcoming story on resistance within the armed services to the Bush-Cheney policy of torturing and abusing detainees. But the fact that the Navy's general counsel warned before the new policy was instigated of its potential for facilitating abuse strikes me as enormously important. Money quote from the AP:

"The memo from July 7, 2004, recounted [Navy general counsel Alberto J.] Mora’s 2 1/2-year effort to halt a policy that he feared would authorize cruelty toward suspected terrorists.

The document also indicates that some lawyers in the Justice and Defense departments objected to the legal course the administration undertook, according to the report.

Mora said Navy intelligence officers reported in 2002 that military-intelligence interrogators at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were engaging in escalating levels of physical and psychological abuse rumored to have been authorized at a high level in Washington.

'I was appalled by the whole thing,' Mora told the magazine. 'It was clearly abusive and it was clearly contrary to everything we were ever taught about American values.'

Mora said he thought his concerns were being addressed by a special group set up by the Pentagon. But he discovered in January 2003 that a Justice Department opinion had negated his arguments with what he described as 'an extreme and virtually unlimited theory of the extent of the president’s commander in chief authority.'"

I don't know when the administration's defenders will concede reality. The reality is that this president deliberately and clearly authorized torture of detainees, and then brazenly lied about it to the American people and the world. The reality is that Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld also lied to the Congress in professing shock at Abu Ghraib abuses that he had personally authorized. The reality is that Dick Cheney's office helped construct a legal architecture to create an extra-legal executive, empowered to murder, torture and abuse anyone it deemed necessary. The blood at Abu Ghraib and in so many other places is on these men's hands. And they have yet to be held in any way accountable.