Sunday, August 30, 2009

NYT OpEd Descent Into WSJ Land

Thriller writer Joseph Finder pens another example of the NYT attempting to match the Op-Ed stupidity level of the WSJ. Finder is distressed that the DOJ doesn't like torture.

EARLY in 2002, Eric Holder, then a former deputy attorney general, said on CNN that the detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay were “not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention,” particularly “given the way in which they have conducted themselves.”

Six years later, declaring that “Guantánamo Bay is an international embarrassment,” Mr. Holder said, “I never thought I would see the day when ... the Supreme Court would have to order the president of the United States to treat detainees in accordance with the Geneva Convention.”

So what changed?

A lot of things, of course, but most of all, our national political climate...

What changed? Well, now what changed other than the (D)/(R) in power? The opening theme of this piece of ... hackery tells you just exactly how this writer is going to operate. You asked, Hack (I don't know that Joe whores his skills, my apology), so I'll give the actual answer, Available Information is what changed. In "early 2002" torture programs were unknown, lies about the make up of the detainees were flowing from the (R) BushCo - worst devils of all Satan's devils, rather than most were innocent of any such thing, Saddam was going to treat us to mushroom clouds and poisons were everywhere in Iraq, Cheney, et al, were lying their asses off about Saddam flying the planes into WTC... Finder were you both deaf and blind? Or is this just an example of you right wing torture apologists trying to re-write history on the assumption that we all are deaf, blind, and STUPID?

It isn't as though the NYT editorial board had to exactly dig through this piece of crap to get to the problems with it - I have cut nothing from the opening. It seems that the ability to type makes all points equal - he said, she said news/opinion.

He goes on to talk about the BushCo DOJ review in 2005 and gives us this:
Mr. Holder’s decision, then, implies that justice wasn’t done five years ago probably because high-level officials in the George W. Bush administration put their thumbs on the scale of justice. This seems unlikely.

"Seems unlikely? Because he's a true believer in BushCo? WTF, Over? In the face of the uproar over the BushCo politicization of the DOJ he proposes that that it seems unlikely? Damn, it seems unlikely that the moon isn't composed of green cheese - see, I typed it so it has validity. The Earth was created 6,000 years ago, some people believe that so it must be worthy of consideration...

Lacking reliable witnesses or forensic evidence, they made the only call they could have made: not to prosecute. In our nation of laws, that’s exactly the way you want government prosecutors to behave.

No, it is not. In the face of further information I want them to get to the damn bottom. Reliable witnesses excludes anyone who didn't conform to the expected and desired conclusions is apparently his measure. Asking the participants under oath and threat of imprisonment for perjury is an exercise in finding the truth, not a political cover story.
The prosecutors in this case had to abide by the Justice Department’s ruling, in August 2002, that no agency interrogator would face prosecution for exceeding the guidelines as long as he acted in “good faith” and didn’t have “the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering.” Not an easy distinction to make, surely, when the work you’re told to do seems to be designed precisely to inflict pain and suffering.

Nuremberg. How ignorant does one have to be to miss this? Anything else I might write is just pointless piling on.
Now imagine that you’re a C.I.A. interrogator in some dank “black site” prison, facing a terrorist you honestly believe had something to do with the attack that killed 3,000 of your fellow Americans and might very well know about the next one. You’re under extreme pressure to extract information from the guy.

And the guidance you’ve been given from Washington is maddeningly illogical. “Walling” (slamming a prisoner into a wall) is legal, but not revving a power drill near his head. “Cramped confinement” — locking someone in a dark box for 18 hours a day — or depriving him of sleep for 180 hours is O.K., but firing a gun in the next room is not. Waterboarding a prisoner is legal, but blowing cigar smoke in his face may be a crime.

This was the murky world in which these interrogators operated. No jury in America would have convicted them at the time they were being investigated. Not even close.

The world and our lives are a very murky place, we frequently face decisions that don't have a clear legal statement and yet we persevere. We also find that juries are extremely reluctant to ignore LAW. There are some very infrequent cases of juries ruling in the face of the law, yes, there are and they are so rare as to cause a complete uproar in the media. It is not politics to expect an adherence to over 200 years of US policy and ideals in regard to torture, there may be a philosophical or idealistic element to that but it is not a matter of the (X) after a candidate's name. If it becomes such a matter, then something is very wrong with the (X) Party that thinks such a thing is disposable and they need to be held accountable, not apologized for or justified.
The employees and contractors in question — having been assured by their employer that they would no longer be facing prosecution — presumably accepted the administrative sanctions, relying on the Justice Department decision to end the criminal inquiry.

For the government now to turn around and prosecute them without any significant new facts coming to light would be, legal experts tell me, a violation of the principle of estoppel.

It was pretty clear that the Nazis had no reason to fear prosecution, they did after all have government sanction... "Estoppel" is a nice sounding word, all legal and fancy and thus persuasive - assuming you ignore history and legal actions taken in front of the entire world.
The process that Mr. Holder has unleashed threatens to undermine one of the basic principles of our government. For a new administration to repudiate a consequential legal decision in an individual case made by the previous administration serves to delegitimize our government itself, which is, after, all premised upon institutional continuity.

Two proper nouns: Germany, Japan.
Whatever Mr. Holder’s motive for reopening these cases — whether a well-intentioned desire to provide the American people with the “reckoning” for the “abusive and unlawful practices in the ‘war on terror’ ” that he demanded last year, or a more cynical political calculation — the consequences will be grievous.

It would be grievous to stop doing whatever it takes to get people to talk? Finder writes fiction novels and just to keep him up to speed, 24 is also fiction. Over two hundred years of US history in this regard is not fiction and the world's regard for us in this matter is also not fiction - unlike this piece of hackery.

For many years the NYT was considered the paper of record for the US. That started to fall apart in the face of their fellating the BushCo following 9/11 and their 'reporters' making up stories out of whole cloth and the slow drip drip of right wing accusations of liberal bias, but this policy of printing any damn thing as an OpEd is scarcely a route back. The WSJ had a reputation for OpEd wankery and it seems the NYT believes the WSJ was onto something. It might pay them to realize that Rupert was able to pick up the WSJ cheap for a reason.


Joe Finder said...

Chuck -- If you want to debate facts, I'm fine with that. I'd welcome it. But if you call me a right-wing torture apologist, you'll have to explain why you think I'm pro-torture or right-wing, just because I'm making a contrarian argument you don't agree with, and maybe you can pull up something I've written to support that. Otherwise, you're left with debating me on facts, and I'm happy to do that. If you have the balls. And if you're willing to do it in a sane and rational and civil way -- I'm there.

Chuck Butcher said...

I take it you disagree with something I wrote? What exactly? You wrote what you wrote, not me. Yes, you're backing up torturers, and you can stuff that in whatever pipe it is you're smoking. Civility? Pal, there's nothing civil about your arguments, tone to the side and the tone is not civil either. I'm a bit more blunt than you, so? You stated your "facts" in your OpEd and I called it cherry picking BS and you know it was.

You presented nothing more than opinions, you have no knowledge and assert no knowledge of the inner workings of the DOJ, just your opinion of the correctness of the finding. You make no historical linking of prosecuted behaviors or judicial findings in the regard of torture and its components. You don't because historical facts will kick you to pieces.

You're an apologist for the CIA and their behavior as somehow off-limits because ... you don't like it. You propose unproven and unknowable results of legal action as fact. Here is a fact, those jailed cannot repeat that action of torture, the rest is arrant speculation on your part.

You propose a climate of fear inside intelligence, I will repeat the BushCo assertion, having done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. It doesn't play in this scenario? It applies to the citizenry but not government employees? Run that by me again. I'm supposed to be reassured and think this is what I want in a government in the face of what?

If Holder starts at the bottom of the food chain and works his way up to the top I'd be pleased because that would be right and it would fit the definition of justice, you propose turning a blind eye to crimes that have cost others their lives within our own system of justice, they were Japanese, true, but then that means what? American exceptionalism?

You want to take on a no name no nothing $0.02 Blogger, be my guest. I've got the balls to go head to head with anyone, including you.

I've poked hard enough and accurately enough to get the attention of addresses like HouseInfoSys, SenSgtArms, and various .mil, .gov-VA, and some rather mysterious ones that take little guessing to figure out. I don't get in trouble because I don't get it wrong and I don't say things that cross the line of reasonable.

Since you seem to Google yourself - I'm much to small potatoes for you to notice otherwise - I'm reposting this as an update. Your comment came in while I was away and I just caught it.