WTF? Buried Alive

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot:

I was looking over Memeorandum this evening, and I see there's a whole knot of liberal blogs bent out of shape over something that happened on the floor of Congress today. It was during the hearings into the memos that had to do with the use of harsh interrogation techniques, some of which some people consider to be torture.

I believe that prohibitions on torture are wise, moral and correct. I think America benefits from a refusal to use torture. We should play this game fairly, though. We disagree somewhat on where the lines are, but there nevertheless are lines that are recognized by all Americans.

John Yoo testified, and was asked by the Honorable John Conyers:

CONYERS: Could the President order a suspect buried alive?

YOO: Uh, Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I’ve ever given advice that the President could order someone buried alive…

CONYERS: I didn’t ask you if you ever gave him advice. I asked you thought the President could order a suspect buried alive.

YOO: Well Chairman, my view right now is that I don’t think a President — no American President would ever have to order that or feel it necessary to order that.

CONYERS: I think we understand the games that are being played.
The liberal bloggers are apparently under the impression that this was an insightful question, and that it is deeply revealing that Yoo didn't answer with a clean denial that the President has the authority.

Consider, though: You're a lawyer. You're testifying before Congress, about legal matters. A Congressman asks you for an opinion on a matter you've not only never studied, but never imagined. Are you going to render a firm opinion?

Of course not. You'll say something very much like what Yoo said -- 'Honestly, I've never thought of that, and can't imagine why it would ever come up.'

Furthermore -- Can the President order people buried alive? What?

I think we understand the game, yes. Congress should be trying to clarify the line between torture and 'harsh interrogation,' not fuzzing it up worse.


Another beauty from today's hearings in Congress.
“I can’t talk to you because Al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN,” Addington said.

Delahunt responded: “I’m sure they are watching. I’m glad they finally have a chance to see you, Mr. Addington, given your penchant for being unobtrusive.”

Allah says it can't be as bad as it looks, though the Congressman's own explanation is simply to deny that he said any such thing.
Delahunt said he was just trying to express that he was glad to see Addington. Delahunt said he recalls saying “I,” not “they,” during the testimony – though the video, broadcast on C-SPAN, shows he was talking about Al Qaeda.
Ace doesn't buy that:
He meant exactly what he seemed to mean. For these bastards, Al Qaeda is not the enemy; only Americans who stand between themselves and political power are. In some situations, Al Qaeda is a genuine ally in the real war.
Freudian slip, or botched joke combined with a bald-faced denial?

Oh, well. At least he didn't suggest that the Bush Administration might start burying people alive. Next question: "Could the President order you to build a big pit in the ground, and light a fire in it, and douse people in alcohol, and then throw them in the fire?"

We captured a tape of insurgents doing that while I was in Iraq, so you know, we wouldn't want to risk a torture gap.

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