Friday, November 25, 2005

The Bush Heuristics

As you may have heard, Jose Padilla has finally been indicted---but not on a charge of attempted dirty bombing. Now, this may come as a shock, but it turns out that the evidence for his being a dirty bomber was worthless, and also obtained through torture, which we do not do. Jack Balkin notes:
The Bush administration is desperate to avoid accountability on its detention and interrogation policies not because of what it may need to do in the future but rather because of the illegality of what it has already done. As a result, Administration officials dropped any mention of the previously touted "dirty bomb" plot against Jose Padilla, because prosecuting that theory would lead to inquiries about what exactly it had done to get the information that formed the basis of the accusation.
This suggests a rule of thumb. There's no denying that some members of the administration might believe that torture works, even if they're wrong---or, more likely, only care about maintaining unfettered executive power and are indifferent to whether or not torture works. So the rule is this: anytime a member of the administration argues for or acts in favor of a pro-torture policy, it's as likely that his pro-torture position is about limiting legal liability for the administration as it is about holding sincerely pro-torture beliefs (the two are not exclusive). This is not calling the pro-torture argument defective because of the motives of its advocates (that would be genetic fallacy); this isn't about the merits of the pro-torture argument at all. It's about administration officials using a theoretical debate about torture to immunize themselves from prosecution. When they talk about "protecting the country from future attacks," they're referring to covering their own asses from accountability for crimes---let's not mince words, crimes against humanity---they committed or abetted.

6 Comments:

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Esperanza said...

what's hueristics?

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Wikipedia has a nice summary here.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Nostradamus said...

Nice summary yourself, Dan. I think you are dead on on this one.

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger Lester said...

Finnegan, I'm in a bind here. J.C.'s visiting his mom in Enfield, and I don't know another fucking soul in this God-forsaken city. I need a place to rest my head, $500, and a loaded shotgun. Make it happen or watch me die.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Finnegan said...

Well here's the thing, Lester. I can get you a bed. I don't have a shotgun myself, but my roommate's from Arkansas, so I assume there's a selection of firearms in his desk drawer. 500 bucks is tricky. I need that money for speed. But here's a little trick I've learned: apparently, all Jews carry a secret purse full of gold somewhere on their persons. If you can get them to expose their horns, they're required to give it to you or else Satan will recall them to hell whence they were spawned. This campus is fucking crawling with Jews. You know what to do.

Yours in Christ,
Finnegan

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Loveyersite! said...

Ha ha. You are so smart and funny, and a badass. You tell the raddest jokes about blow and hoes and bitches and all that cool stuff, like you're down to earth; yet you also do philosophy (it translates to "lover of wisdom), which means you talk about fallacies and logic and other stuff for really smart people (I learned that from Wikipedia on your advice). You do cool frat boy stuff, but you also do cool smart person stuff--the perfect combination!

 

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