Friday, December 31, 2004

SCLM buries the lede on torture memos 

So, the Bush Department of [cough] Justice tries to put the toothpaste back in the tube by writing a memo that says Oh, we were wrong. We thought torture was legal, and White House [cough] Counsel Alberto Gonzales even wrote a memo saying that it was legal, but never mind, it isn't legal after all.

And the new memo came out before the Gonzales confirmation hearings! Fancy that. Nice timing, eh?

Of course, we've been saying all along (here and here) that the truly reprehensible part of the Gonzales memos isn't the fact that they try to justify torture, but that they claim the [cough] President has the "inherent authority" to set aside the law.

And guess what! The malAdministation (seemingly) back-pedalled on torture, but not on the Divine Right of Presidents. That should be the lede, right? Since it means there's not such thing as the rule of law, and the Constitution is inoperative? But let's count. AP buries the lede, oh, one two three four five six seven eight paragraphs in:

The 17-page memo does not address two of the most controversial assertions in the first memo: that Bush, as commander in chief in wartime, had authority superseding anti-torture laws and that U.S. personnel had legal defenses against criminal liability in such cases.
(via AP)

So, Justice issues a new memo. Yawn. So what? Bush believes he can set the law aside whenever he wants, so what does a memo matter?

NOTE WaPo doesn't mention the "inherent authority" issue either. How very odd.

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