Thursday, May 21, 2009

More people much smarter than me discuss torture

New Yorker correspondent Jane Mayer and British attorney Philippe Sands joined Amy Goodman yesterday for a lively discussion on torture and its implications:

AMY GOODMAN: And the issue of the Bush Six, they’re from a certain sector of the Bush administration. There’s no one in the military. There’s no one in the CIA. Why not? And also, it doesn’t go up the chain of command.

PHILIPPE SANDS: I think that that’s a very important question. I focused on the lawyers, because I am a lawyer, and I really, as I think I’ve said to you before when I’ve talked with you, couldn’t understand how lawyers, who had been to the finest law schools in the United States, could approve torture, which is what they did. And so, I focused on them for that reason.
But I focused on them also for another tactical reason. I never imagined that so soon there would be so much scrutiny in the United States. It didn’t really occur to me that it would be possible to really put these issues under the spotlight. And if it did happen, I didn’t think it could happen in relation to a former vice president or a former secretary of defense or a former president. So I focused on the next tier down. The key point is, they were enablers. But for the lawyers, none of this would have happened.

But at the end of the day, the key people are those who actually signed off on the decisions, right at the very highest echelons of government. And we now know that’s not just the Vice President, it’s not just the President, it’s not just Rumsfeld. There’s new material that has come out to indicate that Condoleezza Rice may have had a role in all of this. She has said, of course, she didn’t take the decision; she merely communicated the decision. I’m not sure that there’s much of a distinction to be drawn there. But it goes very high.

There's more at the link.