Thursday, June 24, 2004

A Little Torture Will Get You a Federal Judgeship

We're learning more about Jay S. Bybee, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote the notorious Aug. 2002 memo addressed to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales ... which asserted that El President is free under his authority as commander in chief to order torture, notwithstanding treaties and laws barring it.

The Mormon Bybee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and now presides in Las Vegas as a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, to which lifetime job El Presidente appointed him, apparently in fine appreciation of his ability to tie tiny, legalistic knots on the president's cat o' nine tails.

For example, Bybee's memorandum defined torture only as pain like that accompanying "death, organ failure or the permanent impairment of a significant body function." Judge Bybee's memo went on to say torture is unlawful only if the infliction of pain is the offender's specific objective. "Even if the defendant knows that severe pain will result from his actions, if causing such harm is not his objective, he lacks the requisite specific intent," he wrote.

In other words, dear saints, and since we KNOW that the objective of all interrogations is knowledge of the enemy, then ergo, no severe pain inflicted in the extraction of that knowledge can be torture, because torture was not the goal, only the means. Maybe it takes a Mormon to rack reason that severely (and a Methodist to run with it and then not only deny that he ran with it but fail to remember that he ever saw such a memorandum). Latter Day Saints? Latter Day Sophists!

Every time Bush now speaks on the torture issue, he's clearly following Bybee's legal advice, that is, saying blandly "this White House never ordered torture," when he knows very well that lawyer Bybee told him in the memo that what was being done was NOT torture as long as they called it something else, i.e., information extraction. "We didn't order torture; we ordered intelligence gathering. Therefore, I am still the Godliest president ever to occupy the Oval Office, and the Hand of God is guiding my every act."

Gag me with a hymnal!

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