The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, June 08, 2004  

It’s No Better at Guantanamo.
More Embarrassment to Come?

What does it take for the Bush administration to fire anyone, even someone as despicable, disgraceful, and shameful as Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, a man who has done more to undermine the standing of the United States, American and allied troops, and the American people than anyone else occupying his current position, or any other, in decades?

Here’s the latest from The Wall Street Journal (“Pentagon Lawyers Question Methods at Guantanamo,” by Greg Jaffe and Jess Bravin [Ed.: Subscription required. Copyright laws, however, allow me to share the article with friends. If you’re my friend and you would like to read the article in full, simply send me an e-mail, and I will forward a copy to you.]):

Some top military lawyers in the Pentagon are questioning the propriety of interrogation techniques currently being employed to question al Qaeda captives at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, senior defense officials said.

The techniques were contained in an annex to a policy report on interrogations approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in April 2003. A March draft of the report, portions of which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, said that some uses of pain and psychological manipulation were lawful interrogation techniques and contended that, in any case, President Bush had the constitutional power to disregard laws prohibiting torture if he believed national security so required. […]

Military lawyers, many of whom worked closely in drafting the interrogation rules, have conveyed their concerns to Bush administration officials in the Pentagon, the defense officials said. Their objections to many of the tactics approved for use at Guantanamo illustrate a rift between senior military lawyers and Bush administration lawyers inside the Pentagon about which extreme interrogation measures are legal.

“There’s a divide within the military,” said an officer who recently retired from a position with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “There’s a group that’s more willing to take the more ‘creative’ approach of the [secretary of defense] and the politicos, and then the more conservative” officers who want to hew more closely to the traditional understanding of military and international law, the retired officer said. He himself is among the conservatives. “There’s a term floating around called the ‘revolt of the professionals,’” this officer said.

I for one remain convinced the worst is yet to come.

Fire Rumsfeld! Now.

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