Do your job, go to jail

By

Newsweek carries an article this week on the debate in Congress over legislation to outlaw "aggressive interrogation techniques" on terrorist detainees, which includes this interesting passage:

Even (Senator John) McCain recognizes there could be rare instances when a president disobeys the law and orders a suspect tortured—say, if Al Qaeda had hidden a nuclear bomb in New York and a suspect involved in the plot had been captured. "You do what you have to do, but you take responsibility for it.'

McCain is inspired by the examples of other countries that have wrestled with the torture issue. The Israeli High Court formally outlawed torture in 1999 after at least 10 Palestinians died in custody. Still, in "ticking time bomb" cases when time is of the essence, Israeli interrogators can seek special permission to use force with a suspect—though they would be subject to prosecution if the suspect was not concealing urgent information.

So the directive to the men and women on the frontlines in the war against terrorism is: 'Protect the country from terrorist attacks at all costs, but you'll have to break the law to do it — and if anything goes wrong we'll prosecute you'.  Now that's the kind of inspiring slogan that they can engrave on the walls down at CIA headquarters.

Scott Wright   11 16 05

Newsweek carries an article this week on the debate in Congress over legislation to outlaw "aggressive interrogation techniques" on terrorist detainees, which includes this interesting passage:

Even (Senator John) McCain recognizes there could be rare instances when a president disobeys the law and orders a suspect tortured—say, if Al Qaeda had hidden a nuclear bomb in New York and a suspect involved in the plot had been captured. "You do what you have to do, but you take responsibility for it.'

McCain is inspired by the examples of other countries that have wrestled with the torture issue. The Israeli High Court formally outlawed torture in 1999 after at least 10 Palestinians died in custody. Still, in "ticking time bomb" cases when time is of the essence, Israeli interrogators can seek special permission to use force with a suspect—though they would be subject to prosecution if the suspect was not concealing urgent information.

So the directive to the men and women on the frontlines in the war against terrorism is: 'Protect the country from terrorist attacks at all costs, but you'll have to break the law to do it — and if anything goes wrong we'll prosecute you'.  Now that's the kind of inspiring slogan that they can engrave on the walls down at CIA headquarters.

Scott Wright   11 16 05