A senior Bush administration lawyer is urging a federal appeals court to dismiss a convicted terrorist's lawsuit over legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation tactics.
John Yoo wrote the memos as a Department of Justice lawyer. His lawyer argued Monday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowing such lawsuits to proceed will open other presidential counsel to dangerous judicial second-guessing during wartime.
Yoo's attorney has made a significant error in the way he has presented Yoo's case to the Federal Appeals Court.
When he makes the argument that "...allowing such lawsuits to proceed will open other presidential counsel to dangerous judicial second-guessing during wartime", he has obviously forgotten that there was never a declaration of war by Congress against Afghanistan or Iraq: only Congress can declare war, and that never happened in either case here.
However, it is the institutionalization of torture by the US government which presents a number of fundamental problems for the US.
When the US tortures, this for all practical intents and purposes removes the US from any human rights organization to which it has been a signatory by treaty, including the Geneva accords.
Torture, as we know from the times of the Catholic Inquisition, does not produce the truth; torture ultimately gets the tortured person to say what the torturer wants to hear, but not the truth.
We, as a country and a people, can no longer talk about American values of human rights and human dignity with a straight face, when we torture.
People around the world understand clearly that we practice those values in the breach, not the observance, when we torture.
And when we torture, we can expect hostile countries to do precisely the same to our citizens and soldiers.
This lawsuit should go forward: torture should never be used by Americans as an interrogation tool, nor be allowed to be used by foreign countries to whom we have "outsourced" this procedure in the past.