Monday, April 07, 2008

"No kings"

The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9:
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States
We have no king. No sovereign.

Here's what John Yoo had to say in his memorandum as to the legality of torture as practised by the Dubya maladministration, though (from p. 11):
We discuss below several canons of construction that indicate that ordinary federal criminal statutes do not apply to the properly-authorized interrogation of enemy combatants by the United States Armed Forces during an armed conflict. These canons include the avoidance of constitutional difficulties, inapplicability of general criminal statutes to the conduct of the military during war, inapplicability of general statutes to the sovereign, and the specific governs the general. The Criminal Division concurs in our conclusion that these canons of construction preclude the application of the assault, maiming, interstate stalking, and torture statutes to the military during the conduct of a war.
"The king can do no wrong." What is a crime of general applicability -- one that applies to all -- such as the assault statutes, doesn't apply when the sovereign does it. Likewise, the Convention Against Torture, signed and ratified as a treaty by the U.S., which provides:

Article 1

1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2
1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

doesn't apply, either. No rulz.


At 3:50 AM, Blogger Maximus said...

Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules...!


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