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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Shrub was questioned today about the Justice Department memo which argues for the legality of torture, and here's what he said:
Yes, we should fight terrorism, but we should not forget the principles on which our civilization rests, such as human rights.
Just kidding! That's what Jacques Chirac said. Here's Shrub's exchange with reporters:
Q Mr. President, the Justice Department issued an advisory opinion last year declaring that as Commander-in-Chief you have the authority to order any kind of interrogation techniques that are necessary to pursue the war on terror. Were you aware of this advisory opinion? Do you agree with it? And did you issue any such authorization at any time?

THE PRESIDENT: No, the authorization I issued, David, was that anything we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with international treaty obligations. That's the message I gave our people.

Q Have you seen the memos?

THE PRESIDENT: I can't remember if I've seen the memo or not, but I gave those instructions.


Q Mr. President, I wanted to return to the question of torture. What we've learned from these memos this week is that the Department of Justice lawyers and the Pentagon lawyers have essentially worked out a way that U.S. officials can torture detainees without running afoul of the law. So when you say that you want the U.S. to adhere to international and U.S. laws, that's not very comforting. This is a moral question: Is torture ever justified?

THE PRESIDENT: Look, I'm going to say it one more time. If I -- maybe -- maybe I can be more clear. The instructions went out to our people to adhere to law. That ought to comfort you. We're a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books. You might look at those laws, and that might provide comfort for you. And those were the instructions out of -- from me to the government., actually, that isn't comforting when, as the reporter clearly pointed out, the government prepares a memo suggesting that torture might not be illegal, and the president might be above the law. How hard is it to say, "Torture bad"?

Here's another good snippet from the press conference regarding the Plame case:
Q Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name?

THE PRESIDENT: That's up to --

Q And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts.

Q My final point would be -- or question would be, has Vice President Cheney assured you --

THE PRESIDENT: It's up to the --

Q -- subsequent to his conversations with them, that nobody --

THE PRESIDENT: I haven't talked to the Vice President about this matter, and I suggest -- recently -- and I suggest you talk to the U.S. Attorney about that.
What a dick. I hope, I hope, I hope that case brings down his whole criminal syndicate.

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