Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stupid CNNinnies

Christ allmighty, this is what I get for watching the morning news without my tin-foil helmet and stupid-shit-o-meter properly calibrated.

From Barbara at the senate (yes, THE senate)

Today, the media is reporting on a Department of Defense memo pertaining to the Geneva Conventions and terrorist-detainees, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/nationalsecurity/genevaconvdoc.pdf. Contrary to the media’s reporting that this memo represents a new policy with respect to the treatment of detainees, it is merely a restatement of current policy that all detainees are to be treated in a manner consistent with Geneva Convention Common Article Three, along with a notation that all Department of Defense policies, aside from the military commission orders, comply with that standard.

I encourage you to read this memo closely and carefully for yourself—the relevant part is only a half-page—because the media could not misrepresent the content of this memo any worse. Many media reports claim that this memo represents a “major shift” in the Bush Administration policy towards detainees, or that this memo somehow represents a “new policy” towards detainees. Bill Press, for example, characterized it as a “stunning reversal.” All of these reports are utterly inaccurate.

The first paragraph of the memo merely repeats the finding of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan decision that Geneva Convention Common Article Three applies to the conflict with al Qaeda, and that the Department’s military commission orders were inconsistent with Common Article Three. The memo then repeats the Department’s understanding that all its existing Department orders, policies, and directives, aside from the military commission procedures, “comply with the standards of Common Article 3.”

Then, the memo directs all recipients of the memo to ensure that all DoD personnel adhere to the standard of treating detainees humanely, and to review all relevant policy directives, regulations, policies, and practices “to ensure that they comply with the standards of Common Article Three.” Contrary to the media reports, there is no order in this memo that the Department reverse its policy and now apply Common Article Three to all detainees. There is no order that detainees will now be treated any differently than they have in the past. This memo is not a change in policy because it already is the policy of the United States to treat detainees humanely and “in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.” This policy comes from no less an authority than the President himself. Memo from President to Vice President, et al. regarding Humane Treatment of Al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees ¶ 3 (Feb. 7, 2002). In fact, the Department memo specifically recalls the President’s policy promulgation. As the DOD memo notes, if DOD personnel were to comply with all existing policies, orders, and directives, including directives related to intelligence interrogation, detainee debriefings, and tactical questioning, then their actions would comply with the standards of Common Article 3 because such policy direction already complies with Common Article 3. Thus, there is no new policy with respect to the treatment of detainees.

Again, I encourage you to read the memo for yourself.

I'm going to stick to watching Spongebob Squarepants with the kids. I'll bet they check their facts.


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