10 June 2004

The torture memo

The story this news cycle is the “torture memo”, in which legal counselors for the Bush administration argued that torture was legal, or at least not illegal in a way that might be a problem ... with the tacit assumption that of course it's the sort of thing that the US should be in the business of doing.

I'm trying not to rant, here.

Actually, I don't have to. There's lots of good stuff out in the lefty blogosphere on this. You can get an overview of the key points and history of the story. There's a terrific, horrifying close reading of the memo's content. The Washington Post has given us a fiery editorial. Billmon takes a moment to make some pointed observations about the memo's authors' values. You can get a PDF of the memo itself, if you have a strong stomach.

Lots to read about.

You don't have the time or fortitude to face all of that stuff, I understand. So I'll give you a key snippet from this quasi-platonic dialogue which gets right to the point.

Q: Is the Convention Against Torture (CAT) a treaty?

A: Yes.

Q: Did the president sign it?

A: Yes, President Reagan signed it on April 11, 1988 and the senate ratified it on October 21, 1994.


Q: What is the role of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government?

A: The role of the Executive Branch is to enforce the laws.

Q: Who is in charge of the Executive Branch?

A: The President of the United States.

Links by way of perennial heroes Atrios and DeLong, two guys you should be reading for politics instead of reading me.

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