Saturday, June 30, 2007

more background on "the angler" -- from the online chat with barton gellman

the washington post series on vice
president dick cheney has provided valuable
new insights into the ways in which cheney
operates on the political stage, and perhaps
more importantly, behind the scenes of it. . .

in an online chat of tuesday, barton
gellman had the following to say -- and
i'll return, to offer some additional
thoughts on these notions, soon -- but
suffice it to say here that it strikes me
as possible that the supremes' truly rare
decision to re-visit the guantanamo cases
may be a proximate result of his fine reporting:

Atlanta: In your mind and regarding the war on terror, who is the "acting" chief executive? Your article seems to put Bush in a more passive role; acquiescing to Cheney's direction instead of the other way around.

Barton Gellman: I'll just keep saying we can't know that. It's perfectly plausible, and from all the circumstances seems likely, that Bush told Cheney (whoever brought it up) that yes, he'd like to make sure captured terrorists are kept out of criminal courts where they'd have access to lawyers and technicalities. And that yes, sending them to Guantanamo Bay sounds like a great answer. I doubt that Bush proposed a particular legal mechanism, but it's not uncommon for a president to tell a subordinate to "find me an answer that achieves this result. . ."

those pesky technicalities -- like freedom
from torture under the geneva conventions. . .

that sure is bothersome.

here's an idea! -- why don't we just say that
we find the geneva conventions "outmoded",
or "quaint" -- and just completely ignore them?

oops. my bad. erh, we already did.
or, at least, alberto gonzales said
so -- and bush followed his lead.

see, the thing about the geneva con-
ventions is that, as a signing-nation,
and as a presently-binding treaty, there
are specific, formal procedures to renounce
the treaty -- our executive branch needs
to formally declare it is no longer bound
by that treaty, and thus nullify it. of
course, bush and cheney haven't the full
courage of their dubious convictions, to
do so. instead, they choose to demean
the role of law in international societies,
the world over, by openly ignoring it,
all the while, refusing to nullify it. . .

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