Thursday, February 07, 2008

The "Torture Justification" explained

"What Constitution?", a commenter on Glenn Greenwald's blog at Salon, has put together a wonderful explanation of the waterboarding defence currently being flogged by Tony Fratto and others in the maladministration:
There's a joke among lawyers. Ridiculously inadmissible evidence is offered in court; the defense lawyer says "objection, hearsay" and the judge asks the prosecutor if there is an exception to the hearsay rule that would permit it. After a moment's thought, the prosecutor says "well, it's really good hearsay, Your Honor." This is funny because there's no such thing as a "really good hearsay" objection, that's not what matters under the Rule of Law. But the Bush Administration is looking us all in the eye and saying they have the unilateral power to ignore international law, American law and morality if they think it's "really good torture."
That's what the "Ticking Time Bomb" defence consists of. Examples of its promulgation in just this form, sadly, are rampant.


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