“When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.”
— Richard M. Nixon, TV interview with David Frost, May 20, 1977.
Condi Rice opened her mouth this week and spewed forth Dick Nixon, and in doing so, told the ghost of Ronald Reagon to go flush himself.
During an impromtuÂ question-and-answer session at Stanford:
Q: Okay. Is waterboarding torture?
Condi: I just said — the United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture. And so, by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture.
Rice blubbered out the comments when she was confronted by a student during aÂ tour of a campus dorm.Â
The student, apparently a guy, dogs Condi with all kinds of shit until she blurts out it was the president that did it, she onlyÂ conveyedÂ the instructions.
Oh, yeah, the old “just following orders” routine.
And what did theÂ dear leader say about that kind of shit in March 2003?
In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms.
The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.
And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning.
In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people.
War crimes will be prosecuted.
War criminals will be punished.
And it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”
In response, John Dean, Dick Nixon’s White House counsel, later whistleblowerÂ for ‘a cancer growing on the presidency’ during Watergate, told MSNBCâ€™s Keith Olbermann Thursday night Rice with her remarks might have admitted criminal conspirarcy.
Via Raw Story:
â€œShe tried to say she didnâ€™t authorize anything, then proceeded to say she did pass orders along to the CIA to engage in torture if it was legal by the standard of the Department of Justice,â€ Dean said.
â€œThis really puts her right in the middle of a common plan, as itâ€™s known in international law, or a conspiracy, as itâ€™s known in American law, and this indeed is a crime.
If it indeed happened the way we think it did happen.â€
â€œShe was obviously trying to extricate herself and keep herself in a safe distance, that she was only operating under some general guidance of the president making things legal,â€ he said. â€œSo itâ€™s not clear whether this is a full-throated Nixonian-type defense or whether itâ€™s a lot of confusion of the facts and throwing things up there to try to protect herself.â€
â€œThese kinds of statements are going to come back and be interesting to any investigator,â€ he added.
Torture is illegal, period.
Even so from the Right’s icon — Reagan.
In lawyer/writer Glenn Greenwald’sÂ most-excellent post on Friday about Reagan’s stand on 1988’s Convention Against Torture:
The views that Ronald Reagan not only advocated, but signed a treaty compelling the U.S. to adhere to, are ones that are nowÂ –Â in the view of our dominant media narrative Â –Â the hallmarks of The Hard Left: torture is never justified; there are “no exceptional circumstances” justifying it; it must be declared to be a serious criminal offense ; andÂ — most of all Â –Â the U.S., as Ronald Regan put it, “is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.” Reagan’s explicit view that the concept of “universal jurisdiction” permits signatory nations (such as Spain) to prosecute torturers from other countries (such as the U.S.) is now considered so fringe that it’s almost impossible to find someone in mainstream American debates willing to advocate it.
The problem here, though, isÂ the MSM and word usage — â€œharsh interrogationâ€ instead of what it really is, â€œtorture.â€
The Wasington Post‘s Dana Priest spews forth bullshit:
Q: If they are going to follow the analogy on reporting other criminal issues, why wouldnâ€™t reporters use the term â€œalleged tortureâ€ or â€œaccused of tortureâ€?
Waterboarding is torture, no one disputes it.
To substitute â€œharsh interrogation techniquesâ€™ with regard to waterboarding is like saying â€œmanslaughterâ€ when the charge is â€œmurder.â€
PRIEST: Not true.
The Bush administration would dispute that waterboarding is torture. Thatâ€™s what the memos are all about. Torture is a crime.
There is not a lot of case history to define torture.
What the shit does the so-called ‘Bush administration’ have anything to do with the here-and-now?
So there we are — ghosts of past, present and hopefully Not the future.
Torture is immoral, illegal and whoever okays it a heartless criminal.
Investigate, prosecute and punish everyone, starting at the extreme top, for creating this black hole in US history.