No, It Still Doesn’t Justify Torture


The news of how Osama bin Laden was finally tracked down and killed has caused a predictable outbreak of consequentialism. It appears that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided some of the key intelligence that led to the successful operation in Pakistan while he was undergoing “enhanced interrogation” in CIA prisons in Rumania and Poland. “See?” Dick Cheney’s fans are saying today. “Rendition and torture work. We wouldn’t have killed Bin Laden without them. So what do you think of those tactics now?” The opponents of torture who foolishly argued against it based on pragmatic considerations—“Torture doesn’t work!”—rather than ethical ones–-“It is absolutely wrong!“—set themselves up for this.  Now what should they say? Continue reading

U.S. Attorney General Ethics, Rule #1: Remember What Your Job Is

"I am acting based on the expressed instructions of my client, who is, unfortunately, a moron."

How does the nation’s highest ranking lawyer forget what a lawyer’s job is? If I had to guess, I would say it could happen when the U.S. Attorney general in question is thinking about politics more that the law, and has been under such continuous fire from the public and the media for repeated bungles that he no longer knows who he’s working for.

But that would just be speculation on my part.

We know for certain, however, that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a statement announcing that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators would be tried by a military tribunal at Guantanamo, and not in civilian trials in the U.S. as the Obama Administration had preferred. In the middle of this statement, Holder says, Continue reading

Ethics Tip To President Obama Regarding the Mohammed Trial: Please Shut Up!

This is something of an addendum to the previous post, which should probably be read first.

Politico reports that in response to a question from NBC’s Chuck Todd about those who find it offensive that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the terrorist mastermind, will receive  the same rights accorded to U.S. citizens when they are charged with a crime, President Obama said,

“I don’t think it will be offensive at all when he’s convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.”  Continue reading

Un-American Values in the Terrorist’s Trial

One of the arguments being put forth by the Obama administration to support its (Pick One:  strange; risky; confusing; dangerous; insane; brave) decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a New York Federal Court is that it will highlight  American values and the integrity of our justice system. Indeed, this was about the only rationale that Administration ally Senator Jack Reed (D-RI.) could muster in his appearance with Fox News’ Chris Wallace: Continue reading