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Untie their hands? Watchoo talking about Robert Novak

06/02/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Robert Novak, the reporter who leaked the news about Valerie Plame being a CIA operative talks here about how things are going badly in Afghanistan. Well, no shit. Someone find me a weatherman.

But then he explains that one of the reasons why is that those pesky lawyers are at it again, telling the military who they can and can't kill.

It is a strange war, with the JAGs -- Judge Advocate General military lawyers -- given a hand in military decisions. My sources tell of commanders, despite credible intelligence of enemy forces, calling off air strikes on the advice of JAGs. This is the kind of restraint the U.S. military has experienced starting with the Korean War, when as a noncombat Army officer, I knew our forces had their hands tied behind their backs.

I don't know if Robert has been reading the news recently about Abu Ghraib, but it seems to me that we could have used a few more hands being tied over there. The big news is that the JAG recommended restraint and were overruled consistently by the higher-ups, most notably Alberto Gonzales, the White House Counsel.

In an article here we find that it was a policy flowing from the White House that recommended not adhering to the Geneva conventions.

The Bush administration's decision two years ago to reject Geneva Convention protections for combatants captured in the war on terrorism contributed to the abuses of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, several military law experts and former officers said.

And more:

"What's clear from that (Gonzales) memo is that from the start, the administration was looking for ways to skirt the rule of law, and now we're seeing some of the consequences," said Scott Silliman, a former top Air Force lawyer, a self-described Republican and the head of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University.

Silliman said he was "surprised that the key legal recommendation on the Geneva Conventions" came not from experienced military lawyers, but from a White House counsel.

Members of the judge advocate general (JAG) corps of each service were overruled or frozen out of key legal decisions in the war on terror and in Iraq, said Silliman and Jordan Paust, a law professor at the University of Houston.

JAG lawyers complained vociferously last year when the Iraq war started that they were "cut out" of supervising interrogations, according to one former officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said they'd supervised questioning in previous conflicts.

Silliman, who served in the first Gulf War, said JAG oversight of interrogations is a good way to prevent abuses and insure that the Geneva Conventions are followed.

Paust, who taught at the Army's JAG school in the 1970s, said the administration "made a plan to violate the law of war, and now we're seeing the end result of that policy."

So here's Robert Novak in the face of all of that recommending a similar action in Afghanistan.

Either he's simply ignorant of the facts, or, he doesn't see what happened in Abu Ghraib as such a bad thing, which is what I think is more closer to the truth for Novak.

1 comment

Comment from: Pfft [Visitor]
06/03/04 @ 10:13
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