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Jedi or Sith?

Posted by caraher on June 18, 2008, at 0:06:54

On the Daily Show Monday, Jon Stewart's guest was one of the US prosecuting attorneys fired for his refusal to prosecute "voter fraud" cases because of insufficient evidence. A longtime enthusiastic Republican, he received his appointment in 2001 with the new administration (this is apparently routine; new presidents traditionally name the prosecutors at the beginning of their terms). The guest summed up his experience something like this: "I thought I was joining the Jedi, but it turned out I was working for the Sith lords."

Here's a lovely discovery on the part of the US Senate Armed Services Committee (as recorded at ):

"We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC (the Red Cross) is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques," Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who's since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting that were made public Tuesday. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan were using sleep deprivation to "break" detainees well before then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved that technique. "True, but officially it is not happening," she is quoted as having said."

Doing his duty as a member of the "liberal media," a commentator at the LA Times (,0,6744652.column ) offers this advice about how Congress should proceed:

"Part of the hysteria over all this that you see in places like the Wall Street Journal editorial pages stems from an anxiety that congressional inquiries, like that of Levin's committee, will lead to indictments and possibly even war crimes trials for officials who participated in the administration's deliberations over torture and the treatment of prisoners.
It's true that there are a handful of European rights activists and people on the lacy left fringe of American politics who would dearly like to see such trials, but actually pursuing them would be a profound -- even tragic -- mistake. Our political system works as smoothly as it does, in part, because we've never criminalized differences over policy. Since Andrew Jackson's time, our electoral victors celebrate by throwing the losers out of work -- not into jail cells."

Because, after all, whether or not to torture or commit a war crime is nothing more than a policy matter...




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