The Torture Policy

Slowly, we're learning more about how it emerged. Against all expert advice, against the military leadership, against secretary of state Colin Powell, hidden from Condi Rice, the White House ensured that torture and abuse of millitary detainees could, for the first time, become a policy of the United States. That is what the evidence now suggests, and from Michi Kakutani's review of Bush books in the NYT, there's more detail to come:

In galleys to "The President's Counselor," [author Bill] Minutaglio reports that on the explosive subject of how to prosecute captured terrorists, a task force of lawyers and Agcorpse_1 criminal prosecutors from the Justice Department, the State Department, the Office of Legal Counsel and the military was put together after 9/11, but was soon disbanded, as Mr. Gonzales and his legal team grew impatient with Department of Justice talk about criminal trials.

The White House counsel's office "with the help of hardliners from the Office of Legal Counsel," Mr. Minutaglio writes, took "charge of any planning for the prosecution of foreign prisoners captured during the new war on terror" and by November "had formulated a proposal that would pave the way for the most aggressive military tribunals since World War II — ones that would suspend the kinds of rights normally afforded Americans in the U.S. judicial system."

These formulations, Mr. Minutaglio goes on, "were crafted and designed in remarkable isolation — in secret and divorced from Condoleezza Rice and influential members of the State Department."

A cabal created Abu Ghraib. And Camp Cropper. And Bagram. And Gitmo. And they have yet to be held to account.