Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Frank Wolf and the White House Torture Memo

Given that Frank Wolf is against banning waterboarding water torture, what does he think of this?
The Justice Department in 2003 gave military interrogators broad authority to use extreme methods in questioning detainees and argued that wartime powers largely exempted interrogators from laws banning harsh treatment, according to a memorandum publicly disclosed on Tuesday.


Some legal scholars said Tuesday that they were amazed at the scope of the memorandum.

“This is a monument to executive supremacy and the imperial presidency,” said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University. “It’s also a road map for the Pentagon for fending off any prosecutions.”

The memorandum gave the military broad latitude to use harsh interrogation methods. It reasoned that federal laws prohibiting assault were not applicable to military interrogators dealing with members of Al Qaeda because of White House authority during wartime. It also argued that many American and international laws would not apply to interrogations overseas.

Given Frank Wolf's well-known commitment to human rights in China and Darfur, you'd think he would have vocally denounced this memorandum, later rescinded by the Justice Department, as immoral and illegal (not to mention deeply unAmerican). But since we didn't hear a peep from Frank Wolf on this, apparently we can assume that he agrees with this definition of torture:
“The victim must experience intense pain or suffering of the kind that is equivalent to the pain that would be associated with serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure or permanent damage resulting in a loss of significant body functions will likely result,” Mr. Yoo wrote.

The Army Field Manual, by the way, explicitly bans coercive interrogations. Apparently, Frank Wolf agrees with the Bush Administration's lawyers and disagrees with the Army Field Manual. Also, apparently, Wolf is more concerned with human rights violations in China than he is with human rights violations authorized by the Bush Administration. Can we say "partisanship over principle?"

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