It has been said in the past that the Bush administration is not only reckless but lawless. The extent of this lawlessness was made abundantly clear yesterday.
In what we could only wish had been an April Fool’s Day joke, the Department of Justice declassified and released a 2003 Office of Legal Counsel memo advising the Pentagon that laws and treaties forbidding torture and other forms of abuse did not apply to U.S. interrogators because of the president’s wartime power.
What kind of harm, you might ask, would be prohibited under the standard established by this memo? Very little, it turns out. It declared that an interrogation technique must “shock the conscience” in order for it to be illegal. But it gets even worse. The memo also asserted, “Whether conduct is conscience-shocking turns in part on whether it is without any justification.”
Just because one lawyer at the Justice Department wrote a memo asserting that certain conscience-shocking actions were justified and therefore legal does not change the real truth here: The Bush administration has flagrantly violated domestic law and international treaties.
The only question now is what should be done.
Prosecutions may be appropriate. Impeachment should not be out of the question. But what is needed immediately is a thorough investigation into the Bush administration’s understanding of the extent of the president’s power as commander-in-chief.
Please send an email to your representatives in Congress, urging them to support wide-ranging hearings into the abuses of executive power that have occurred over the past seven years. Just click here to get started:
At this point in history, we must be concerned not only with punishing Bush administration officials for wrongdoing, but also with setting standards for the next administration. We must establish now that the “war on terror” has NOT created a “wartime president” with unlimited powers. If we do not, then we can only expect executive power to expand in the future.
Tell your representatives in Congress you are concerned about excessive executive power by sending an email today:
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Thank you for taking action.
American Freedom Campaign Action Fund
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