Thursday, March 18, 2010

An Analogy

The Washington Post's new resident hack/torture-apologist Marc Thiessen had an article last week defending the disgraceful attack ad put out by Liz Cheney/Bill Kristol et al which implied that attorneys who defended Gitmo detainees in habeas corpus petitions were essentially Al Qaeda sympathizers. This abhorrent attack on the motivations and ethical character of a group of lawyers has been thoroughly discredited by pretty much everyone along the political spectrum, right and left wing. Further, Thiessen argued that there was some sort of "double standard" being practiced by the "liberal media" in how the authors of the torture memos, John Yoo and Jay Bybee, were universally condemned for their role in justifying and perpetuating the Cheney torture and rendition program with their shoddy, discredited legal reasonings, while the DOJ lawyers involved in the Gitmo cases have been "let off the hook".

The intellectual and moral vacuousness of his thesis is just mind blowing. Let me give you an analogy that will help elucidate the stupidity of Marc Thiessen.

According to the OPR report, Yoo and Bybee were found to have committed "intentional professional misconduct". (Yes, I know, David Margolis from the DOJ rejected this finding independently thus ensuring that Yoo and Bybee wouldn't risk possible disbarment--- but that's a blog post for another time.) The Gitmo lawyers, on the other hand, provided counsel to detainees who may or may not have been guilty of conspiring with terrorists. We already know that hundreds of people detained over the years at Gitmo have been released without any charges being filed, without any evidence that they were terrorists. In other words, there were innocent people in Gitmo. That's an incontestable fact. In this country, when trying to determine the guilt or innocence of a prisoner/detainee we go through a process called a fair trial. Even in military tribunals. That means both sides present their cases and lawyers argue the merits of opposing claims under strict and fair guidelines. I know it's hard to believe, but that's the way we do things in the United States of America.

So there is no equivalence between trashing Yoo/Bybee and doing the same to the Gitmo lawyers. There is no double standard in play.

What Thiessen is claiming would be like equally condemning a surgeon who wantonly shows up drunk for a case and operates on the wrong leg with a trauma surgeon who electively (and pro bono) operates on a suspected drug dealer who rolls in with a gunshot wound to the belly. Would anyone really question the ethical composition of that trauma surgeon who chose to fulfill his duties as a professional, regardless of any personal enmity or judgement he may feel toward the patient? Is that trauma surgeon truly the same animal as the drunken hack who harms the patient?

Thiessen is criminal, a lower level enabler of the Cheney machine, but a criminal nonetheless. And a once proud journalistic enterprise now publishes and pays him for his disjointed, morally dubious drivel....

11 comments:

Frank Drackman said...

Hey I think I just spotted a case of "Can Dish it out but Can't take it-itis"
Hmm lets see, you can call George Bush, Dick Chaney, Bill Chrystal, John Yoo, Jay Bybee(is that a real name?)Marc Thiessen, etc etc War Criminals, Sex Fiends, and all-around-meanies, but you get your panties all in a bunch when someone calls Al Kaida Sympathizers Al Kaida Sympathizers???
Oh, BTW, Barak(Peace be upon Him)'s been president 423 days, and Gitmo's still open, full, BTW.
I know, He's been busy fellating every 2 bit potentate, I mean working on healthcare reform...
Couldnt those lawyers serve humanity better by, I don't know, defending a homeless Haitian or something???

Frank "I Heart Waterboarding" Drackman

Buckeye Surgeon said...

Interesting take Frankie. It's almost as if you didn't read the content of my post, or at least the point whooshed over your head like Fausta Carmona fastball.

Frank Drackman said...

Its Faust-O Carmona...
and with a 6.32 ERA high fastballs are probably his best pitch...
But thanks, I didn't know Cleveland still had a team...

Frank

Trader Bob said...

The new boss has policies the same as the old boss. Only the new boss is very articulate and intelligent and he has charisma. Drink the kool aid and everything will turn out great. Obama is down with Gitmo, torture, peace prizes for fighting wars, bailing out bankers, rendition, but I should trust him to pass legitimate healthcare reform? Really Michael Vick, really, you were going to try to smuggle that through airport security, really. That must be some good stuff. Obama, Bush, 45th president, same, same, same. What do I propose? Smaller less costly government is the only answer.

Sandra said...

I agree with you Buckeye Surgeon. You will notice that the advocates of torture frequently refer to its use on "terrorists" as opposed to "detainees."

Jingoism, which became ever more prevalent after 9/11, has led too many Americans to abandon our national values and the concept of holding our government's employees accountable for their behavior.

After WWII we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding prisoners of war. Now Dick Cheney will openly admit we have waterboarded detainees.

What is truly amazing to me is that there is no evidence that torture works better than interrogation techniques, which leads me to believe that the people who engage in it are directing their anger about 9/11 at whoever they can attack.

Trader Bob said...

ieParks,

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4114386/john-stossel-on-clevelands-struggles/?playlist_id=87050#/v/4114986/stossel-on-health-care-costs/?playlist_id=87050


I would like to hear your thoughts and other physician's thoughts on the Libertarian theories as applied to medicine. Above link as a possible blog post.

Sergiu said...

Why the need for law, attorneys and such?!?! Let's put all the Gitmo detainees on the 'chair' from the start. I'd bet the Cheney clan won't have anything against.

Frank Drackman said...

Shows what you know Sergiu.

You can't electrocute an A-rab...
I mean you could, but you'd set his/her beard on fire.

Thats why they use de-capitation for capital punishment in A-rab countries...

Frank

Attorney Andy said...

Right on the money with this one, Buckeye. One of the things that makes me admire John Adams tremendously is the fact that he decided to defend the British troops in a Boston court who were accused of shooting into a crowd during the "Boston Massacre." (The HBO miniseries about Adams did a nice job of telling the story). The public was outraged, and similarly accused him of "sympathizing" with the British tyranists. In fact what Adams was doing was showing the world that the country we were trying to develop was going to be based on justice, fairness, and the rule of law. Everyone -- even guilty terrorists -- have the right to due process and a fair trial. If they are guilty, a jury will convict them. However, if it is a case of mob rule overtaking the rule of law and an innocent man who happens to be British or Muslim being accused of acts he didn't commit, a proper legal defense will protect him. I'll leave you with a quote from Adams:
"Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds."
-- John Adams, 1774
Trial by jury doesn't exist without a proper defense and due process of law.

Sergiu said...

What a douche you are Frank...

Sorry Buckeye, but I couldn't help myself.

nuff said.

tracy said...

Excellent, Buckeye Surgeon.
A book the this post brings to mind that is v e r y , very good. "Autobiography of an Execution" by David Dow.
By a defense attorney who actually cares about the law...and his clients.
Pages 218-220 in particular.
You can just imagine where it takes place....