June 18, 2007

The Path to Hell: From declassified documents at the National Security Archive:

However, I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?
--Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (12/2/2002) making a funny concerning a recommendation that more coercive interrogation techniques, such as forcing prisoners into "stress positions," ie., standing for long periods of time (see p.6, section 4(d)), be permitted for military personnel.

The memo itself is full of legal weasel words, like "specific intent," to justify circumventing longstanding Constitutional denunciations of torture and cruel and unusual punishment, not to mention international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory, including the Geneva Conventions. Remember, this memo predates the invasion of Iraq by four months, so any doubts that Abu Ghraib was somehow beyond the pale of American policy should be squelched. As far as reacting to what this government has done, the ticking time bomb went off a long time ago. [link via Andrew Sullivan]

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