May 06, 2004

The Lawyers Made Me Do It, Revisited

And now the serious finger-pointing begins, with everybody's Finger of Doom waggling in the direction of Sky Marshal Dienes.

Yet what strikes the Confidence Man as strange about all this is the US abandonment of the Geneva Conventions being blamed solely on Rumsfeld:

Beginning more than two years ago, Mr. Rumsfeld decided to overturn decades of previous practice by the U.S. military in its handling of detainees in foreign countries. His Pentagon ruled that the United States would no longer be bound by the Geneva Conventions; that Army regulations on the interrogation of prisoners would not be observed; and that many detainees would be held incommunicado and without any independent mechanism of review. Abuses will take place in any prison system. But Mr. Rumsfeld's decisions helped create a lawless regime in which prisoners in both Iraq and Afghanistan have been humiliated, beaten, tortured and murdered -- and in which, until recently, no one has been held accountable.

Now, as we mentioned the other day, Rumsfeld himself is trying to wriggle out from under that onus, by claiming that "the lawyers" forced the no-Geneva-standards declaration on the Pentagon.

And again, we ask, which lawyers? At the direction of whom? For what reasons?

And -- Sky Marshal Dienes, are you insinuating that you yourself (and, perhaps, other members of the administration) were opposed to abandoning the Geneva Conventions in the "War on Terror"?

And finally, why oh why isn't anyone insisting that responsibility flow all the way up the chain of command?

Well, OK, the Confidence Man knows the answer to that last one: the media will not hold Chimpy McFlightsuit accountable as CinC until his approval numbers fall below 40%.

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