Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

From the NY Times:
“WASHINGTON, July 27 – Senior military lawyers lodged vigorous and detailed dissents in early 2003 as an administration legal task force concluded that President Bush had authority as commander in chief to order harsh interrogations of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, newly disclosed documents show.

Despite the military lawyers’ warnings, the task force concluded that military interrogators and their commanders would be immune from prosecution for torture under federal and international law because of the special character of the fight against terrorism.

In memorandums written by several senior uniformed lawyers in each of the military services as the legal review was under way, they had urged a sharply different view and also warned that the position eventually adopted by the task force could endanger American service members. …”

The administration has repeatedly argued that any abuses reported at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, if they existed at all, were just bad soldiers acting on their own. Now we know that military leaders argued against these techniques and were ordered into them by the administration. Read the whole article.

The “I was just following orders” defense is certainly not sufficient, but shouldn’t those who gave the orders be held responsible? Not to be one-sided, I think Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney deserve fair trials. I might suggest they follow the same rules of procedure as the hearings for detainees in Guantánamo.

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