Let's set up the authors' conservative bona fides, shall we? This is the piece's first sentence:
One of us was appointed commandant of the Marine Corps by President Ronald Reagan; the other served as a lawyer in the Reagan White House and has vigorously defended the constitutionality of warrantless National Security Agency wiretaps, presidential signing statements and many other controversial aspects of the war on terrorism.I'm not much of a fan of those last points, but I don't have to be. The first sentence settles these two as anything but your run of the mill Democrats. It's the second sentence of the piece that I found most intriguing:
But we cannot in good conscience defend a decision that we believe has compromised our national honor and that may well promote the commission of war crimes by Americans and place at risk the welfare of captured American military forces for generations to come.Intruiging because of what that decision was.
Last Friday, the White House issued an executive order attempting to "interpret" Common Article 3 [of the Geneva Convention] with respect to a controversial CIA interrogation program. The order declares that the CIA program "fully complies with the obligations of the United States under Common Article 3," provided that its interrogation techniques do not violate existing federal statutes (prohibiting such things as torture, mutilation or maiming) and do not constitute "willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual in a manner so serious that any reasonable person, considering the circumstances, would deem the acts to be beyond the bounds of human decency."Sounds kinda complicated, so the authors of this piece sum things up.
In other words, as long as the intent of the abuse is to gather intelligence or to prevent future attacks, and the abuse is not "done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual" -- even if that is an inevitable consequence -- the president has given the CIA carte blanche to engage in "willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse."So you can add "war crimes" to the long list of dubya's presidential sins (it's been on my list since the first civilian casualty in the so-called "Shock and Awe" phase of the his bloody war) as well as "rogue nation."
Wasn't this the crowd that was going to restore dignity to the White House? Weren't they going to restore law and order to a formerly lawless (or so they said) White House?