Topic: The Law
Seems someone thinks that if you don't play be the rules, you ought be asked to leave the game.
See Legal scholars say condoning abuse could be impeachable offense
Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press, Wednesday, June 16, 2004
What's up, Lolita?
Congress is urged to "consider" this?
And just which party controls both house of congress?
And presidents are impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. Not for being a tad overly zealous in their patriotic fervor to protect Americans. Mistakes were made? Perhaps, although no one in administration will allow for that possibility.
But even if mistakes were made, our intentions cannot be questioned.
And we do not break laws.
Of course Pentagon officials told NBC News that late last year, at the same time U.S. military police were allegedly abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered that one Iraqi prisoner be held "off the books" -- hidden entirely from the International Red Cross (ICRC) and anyone else -- in possible violation of international law.
But don't blame Donald Rumsfeld - George Tenet made him do it.
The Geneva Conventions sort of kind of does require prompt registration of prisoners of war, as quaint as that seems.
Dan Dellorto, the Pentagon's deputy counsel is quoted as saying, well, "We should have registered him much sooner than we did."
And Rumsfeld just isn't saying why Tenet asked that the prisoner be held secretly. When asked why Tenet wanted that? "Ask him. It's a classified letter."
But Tenet has resigned and he's busy packing up his office.
As you might recall, Major General Antonio Taguba (yes, he's a Philippine-American West Point guy whose father survived the Bataan Death March) - the guy who wrote the unfortunate report on "abuses" at Abu Ghraib - reported in March that some detainees were kept off the rolls there and denounced the practice as "deceptive, contrary to army doctrine and in violation of international law." (Background at May 16, 2004 - Responsibility - Military Style... and legal issues.)
A violation of international law? That depends on how you interpret the law.
Dellorto and the dudes at the Pentagon are now arguing that a prisoner could be held for a period without being registered "for purposes of imperative military necessity." Well, there's no such exception in any law to which we've agreed and thus to which we are bound, but that is a pretty cool idea.
Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say.
So by the direct order of the President's Secretary of Defense... this guy didn't exist. No one could see him if her didn't exist, and certainly not the ICRC which sort of takes as its job making sure people aren't tortured and abused and such.
Gee, I wonder why he was not reported, why he wasn't in the system. Duh.
But this one prisoner probably wasn't tortured. They, well, lost him.
Intelligence officials asked about the prisoner in January but were told by the military that he could not be located. AFP quotes a fellow who doesn't want his name used - "Frankly, it's a case where people lost track of him. The normal review procedures that would kick into play didn't in this instance. And it fell between the cracks."
And now they cannot find him anywhere in the system.
One suspect he's no longer alive, and Donald and George are smiling.
Nothing to see here folks. Move on.
All this legal stuff. Does it all rise to the level of impeachable offense? Don't know. It's not about sex.
So how about a little perspective from William Pfaff last week (11 June) over at The International Herald Tribune - and yes, that paper is owned by the New York Times (east-coast liberal monsters of course) and published in Paris (which is still in France last time anyone noticed) -
If Bush wins, by a clear popular count this time, yes, we all own this.
Some folks are taking a stand. The Senate voted without dissent on June 17 to require the Bush administration to "issue guidelines aimed at ensuring humane treatment of prisoners at U.S. military facilities and to report any violations promptly to Congress."
But note this too. Passage of the proposal came by voice vote. Why? Because a good number of Republicans, seeing they were going to lose this one, didn't want any record with a roll call - as they didn't want their constituents, voting in November, to be able to see they were going all soft on the evil doers. They know their voters in their conservative districts rather like what has been going on - bad guys and folks who might be bad guys (one never knows) are getting it good, and some are dying from it. And these voters feel good when they know that (and of course they don't have to do any of the beating and torture themselves). Thus a voice vote in the senate - these senators who answer to these voters would like to stay in office.
It gets tricky.