Padilla In History

John Cole gets it:

I don’t know what the real story of Padilla’s involvement (if any) in this mess might be, and since most everything we do know was obtained while torturing the man, I doubt we ever will. I suspect that in the future, when cooler heads look back at this disgraceful period in our nation’s history, the alleged villainous treachery of Jose Padilla will be greatly overshadowed by the outrageous treatment he received and the dishonest and bumbling campaign to subvert the law while attempting to publicly convict him. The real story is not Jose Padilla, who for all we know may actually have been dangerous, but who is now, courtesy of the Bush administration, a broken and mentally deficient mess. The real story will be of the little men who, in moments of great patriotic fervor, decided it was up to them to destroy our nation’s principles in order to save us all.

Shaun Mullen comments here on what this case revealed about the Bush-Cheney administration.

Torture Tape Update

A helpful official time-line from Scott Horton. Money quote:

The Bush Administration plan is simple: let’s think of this as a movie – Abu Ghraib, The Sequel. Instead of offering up a group of young grunts for the sacrifice, this time it will be a retired senior management figure at the CIA and some of his subordinates. And this sacrifice will, in the White House’s view, divert attention from the real source of both scandals, which is high in the upper reaches of the Executive Branch. Inside the White House, in fact.

Play, Pause, And Explain

The hideous, slow distortion of our basic moral values by the Bush administration cannot be allowed to prevail:

When Mike McConnell says “You can do waterboarding lots of different ways…I assume you can get to the point that a person is actually drowning” he is asking us to look at the trees and not the forest. We know waterboarding is torture and we desperately want to believe that our leaders haven’t directed it. We approach our leaders predisposed to believe anything that will put the conscience at ease – we want to believe we’re the good guys. Therefore we are entirely willing to let our leaders play, pause and explain. (Play) waterboarding is really bad (pause) but it can be done lots of different ways and probably some of them aren’t torture and you can bet your bottom dollar that THOSE are the varieties of it we use. He invites us to mentally pause the tape over and over again while he explains the non-torturous nature of each drop.

A war crime is a war crime is a war crime. Prosecute them.

The Torture Tapes

Marty Lederman has a must-read:

The greater scandal is not that these tapes were destroyed, but instead that the CIA did not create tapes of all its high-level interrogations. That is to say, the real outrage was the orders from the CIA to stop taping.

Well, you wouldn’t want to preserve evidence of your own war-crimes either, would you?

Orwellianism Watch

War Is Peace. Slavery Is Freedom. Authorizing Torture is Freeing The Slaves. John Yoo‘s self-defense:

Would we have wanted President Abraham Lincoln to worry about his personal liability for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves (done on his sole authority as commander-in-chief)?

Quote For The Day

"You discussed [in a briefing the previous week] the fact that there is videotape of Abu Zubaydah following his capture that will be destroyed after the Inspector General finishes his inquiry. I would urge the Agency to reconsider that plan. Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future. The fact of destruction would reflect badly on the Agency," – representative Jane Harman, February 10, 2003.

Channeling Orwell

Right-thinking Lee:

There has been a definition of “torture” in place for 60 years.  We’re now violating that definition.  You can tart it up however you like, you can use whatever euphemism allows you to convince yourself that we’re not actually torturing people, but according to any accepted definition of torture, including the ones we wrote ourselves, that’s exactly what we’re doing.  All I ask is that, if you support this type of behavior, at least be intellectually honest enough with yourself to call it torture and stop bullshitting yourself with “enhanced interrogation techniques.”