Sunday, June 13, 2004

Tortured Logic

Josh Marshall, like any reasonable American, isn't buying the bill of goods Bush is offering for Corporate America's hostile takeover via torture:

...President Bush placed great emphasis on the fact that whatever may have happened would have been consistent with his order that "anything we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with international treaty obligations."

But that statement has a certain, shall we say, tortured ring to it when we've just seen this lengthy Pentagon memo which describes novel and improbable legal interpretations by which actions that seem on their face to violate US laws and international treaties actually do not because of the president's plenary powers as commander-in-chief and grand interrogation muckety-muck.
Marshall links to this sane editorial noting the Tortured Logic of Bush's Sangre Limpia latter day Torquemadas

The March memo asserts that interrogators could inflict severe pain on a detainee with impunity as long as the intent was something other than to torture. An interrogator would be culpable only if he knew his actions would inflict suffering that is severe enough to induce "prolonged" physical or mental effects. An interrogator would be immune from punishment if he believed he acted to prevent a larger harm, the lawyers determined.
Bush's good buddies in Saudi Arabia have their own blood cult fatwa-memo on torture:

A recent fatwa posted on a popular Islamic Web site in Saudi Arabia explains when a Muslim may mutilate the corpse of an infidel.

The ruling, written by a Saudi religious sheik named Omar Abdullah Hassan al-Shehabi, decrees that the dead can be mutilated as a reciprocal act when the enemy is disfiguring Muslim corpses, or when it otherwise serves the Islamic nation. In the second category, the reasons include "to terrorize the enemy" or to gladden the heart of a Muslim warrior.

The religious ruling was evidently posted to address questions about the conflict in Iraq, but is not limited by geography. In fact, in each of two gruesome attacks in Saudi Arabia last month that left 25 foreigners and 5 Saudis dead, a Western corpse was dragged for some distance behind a car. One was the body of an American engineer in Yanbu on May 1, the other a British businessman in Khobar last weekend.

That a cleric can post such an argument in an open forum goes a long way toward explaining how the most radical interpretations of religious texts flourish in Saudi Arabia. Even prayer leaders in Falluja, an Iraqi city not known for its love of things American, were swift to condemn the mutilations of four dead United States contractors in April as outside the bounds of Islam.

Fatwas like this one help pave the way for bloody assaults against foreigners that have plagued Saudi Arabia for the past year, many Saudi intellectuals believe...
Thankfully, America relies on rule of law, separation of church and state to give a rational basis for the law, and such extremist, anti-democratic theocrats would never be legitimized, as Bush, Ashcroft, Boykin and Falwell have...nevermind.