Thursday, August 07, 2008

Quote of the Day

"We impeached a president for perjury in a civil lawsuit. We're going to proactively pardon a president who authorized torture?" Andrew Sullivan, discussing torture, the Bush Administration, and the idea of proactively and pre-emptively issuing pardons for Bush Adminstration officials regarding possible charges of violations of the Geneva Convention.
I'm not one that would go so far as Andrew Sullivan does of calling some members of the Bush Administration war criminals; but the evidence is pretty overwhelming that the Bush Administration consciously engaged in measures even it considered of questionable legality, albeit perhaps considered necessary in the war against terrorism. Where Andrew Sullivan's argument is really persuasive is when he asks why the Bush Administration didn't press the argument for the compelling need for "enhanced interrogation techniques" (i.e. what otherwise would be called "torture") and seek some kind of legislative or judicial branch sanction for its policies? If there's nothing to hide, why be so squirrely? If there's nothing to be "pardoned" for, why advocate for a pardon? If "waterboarding" is not torture, why not say so publicly?


Eric said...

Just out of curiosity, is the Bush administration actually publicly talking about issuing pre-emptive pardons, or is that just advice offered up by some blogger as food for thought? I'm not so sure there is a legal precedent for this, and it sounds so outrageous that I tend to doubt it is even being talked about in anything other than hypothetical terms.

Huck said...

Eric - I think Andrew Sullivan is responding to a Bush supporting pundit's suggestion. You're right that it would be absurd for the Bush Administration to talk about this publicly, much less advocate this position, and they aren't as far as I know. However, I do think the Bush Administration, following the Supreme Court's decision on the applicability of Geneva Convention protections to enemy combatants, took steps to provide some kind of legal cover or immunity to administration officials from some kind of national prosecution that could result from this Supreme Court decision.