Saturday, April 18, 2009

Torture Lawyers need to be Disbarred

I didn't need to read all of the commentary about the OLC torture memos to conclude that all of the lawyers involved, and their supervisors, need to be disbarred. It is still refreshing to see I'm not alone in this.

Sullivan is, of course, correct. These were not memos giving frank legal advice. These were instead foregone conclusions that needed a memo to paper over the fact that there was torture going on that was blatently against not only the law, but against common human decency.

I am a lawyer. I've written frank memorandums of advice to clients. A true memo of advice exhaustively considers all sides of an issue. You don't know what the conclusion will be until you've written and re-written it, and discussed it with your supervisors (after you first did your own research). Where the issue is one that isn't yet decided by courts, you make it very clear that your answer might be the wrong one and that it could come out the other way.

These memos are none of that. Even worse, they not only fail to present the other side of the issue, they incorrectly represent the side that is covered. The legal "reasoning" is specious and falls apart under the scrutiny of any C-grade first-year law student.

All of the lawyers involved violated multiple ethical codes of conduct as attorneys and completely got the law wrong, all in an effort to justify torture. That makes them accessories to the torture, and to the deaths that resulted. In any just world, not only would they be disbarred, they'd be tried as accessories to torture and murder and face life in prison. Of course, that will never happen. They'll probably never be disbarred, either, but at least there is small hope that they might be. Bybee is a sitting judge now, for life. Do we really want a torture-apologist, who violated his legal oath, to sit in judgment in federal court? The most I hope for is for him and Yoo and the others to be disbarred and for Bybee to lose his seat on the bench. But I somehow doubt even that will happen.

It was terribly disappointing to hear that CIA officials who used these thin, bullshit memos as cover to torture will not face legal consequences. Andrew seems to think the door is open to prosecute CIA officials who did not believe the memos in good faith, but that is unlikely. It does seem to leave the door open to go after the lawyers, and I recall hearing on NPR that they were being investigated, but that seems unlikely to come to anything.

If the rule of law means anything, we need to ruthlessly prosecute EVERYONE involved in this. Obama seems to be worried it will look like a partisan witchhunt. But so what? He is right in that even though it most certainly is not one, the GOP would whine and whine that it was, and the mainstream media would give them plenty of airtime to do so. If the MSM did its job, perhaps Obama would worry about this less. But I know they won't, and Obama does too.

This is just disgusting to me. This is what RWAs do to us as a nation. Watching the idiotic tea-baggers just makes me want to retch. They don't have a clue. And they are the voice that runs the GOP. At least the left-wing nutjobs are basically irrelevant and ignored by the Democratic party. In the GOP, being a right-wing nutjob makes you in charge - of the party and of the agenda. Look at Michelle Bachman. Sigh.

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