awkwardly

Friday

Memos revealing crime are worse than the crime?

Robert_Gates,_official_DoD_photo_portrait,_2006
Gates Voices Concerns About Release of Interrogation Memos
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates expressed concerns on Thursday that the release of Justice Department memorandums on harsh interrogation techniques might be used by Al Qaeda and other adversaries and put American troops at risk.

. . . 'He spoke on a visit to Marines training here for a deployment to Afghanistan, and he expressed apprehensions that the release of the information "might have a negative impact on our troops" and that the "disclosures could be used by Al Qaeda and our adversaries."
I wish there was a full quote from Gates, but here are my suggested revisions. These are not ways that the NYT needs to revise their description. They are ways that Gates should revise his thinking on the matter. Should read:
...'Gates expressed concerns on Thursday that the release of Justice Department memorandums on knowledge of the fact that CIA used harsh interrogation techniques might be used by Al Qaeda and other adversaries and put American troops at risk.'

Or better yet, Gates expressed concerns that harsh interrogation techniques torture could inspire Al Qaeda and our adversaries to also torture.

How about 'Gates expressed apprehensions that the release of the information the fact that CIA tortured people "might have a negative impact on our troops" and that the "disclosures fact could be used by Al Qaeda and our adversaries."'

Let's say Ferris Bueller is accused of murder. He claims to have killed in self-defense. For the purpose of this hypothetical situation, you're not going to receive a God's-eye view of the situation from your humble narrator objectively stating that self-defense applies or that Bueller should get off the hook.

Now it could be dangerous to Bueller's family or community if a journalist reveals details of the disputed crime, because angry people might retaliate against the family or community. It might even endanger Bueller directly, in as far as it might get him convicted.

Who is more to blame for these potential dangers: the person who revealed details about the alleged murder, or the person who allegedly committed murder? Which should be more worrying: potential retaliations that haven't happened yet, or the alleged crime that already happened?

Should Bueller's family and community be angry at the journalist who revealed the details, or at Bueller who took those actions and brought shame on his family and community?

Bueller = CIA torturers. If you're a US citizen, then you = a member of the community that includes CIA torturers, represented by CIA torturers. If you're reading this at work, some of your time is now generating money to pay for the salaries of the CIA. And I'm probably being too generous by emphasizing the possibility of "self-defense" or some legal argument that would get them off the hook for breaking these laws. American police and Japanese military have been convicted of crimes in US courts for using the same "harsh interrogation techniques". It is only unfair to call the CIA's actions "torture" if it was unfair for those policemen and Japanese officers to be convicted, if they were only carrying out "harsh interrogation techniques." Then again, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was arguably consistent with The Bush Doctrine of preventive war, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. That Obama would stand by it is somewhat surprising.

Gates talks about reluctantly approving the release of memos, concern that the memos will provoke a reaction, and the importance of protecting accused torturers (preventing justice). The memos should provoke reactions -- not a violent reaction, but if you felt a violent reaction was appropriate, you'd be consistent with US policy in these kinds of sitations.

If Gates trusted the justice system and didn't think that their actions could be interpreted as criminal, then he wouldn't need to beg for their protection or immunity. It would just be a matter of convincing prosecutors or judges or juries that no crime was committed. Either he doesn't trust the justice system to work like it's supposed to, or he's afraid that it will work like it's supposed to.

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