While folks may have heard about the New York Times report last week concerning the secret DoJ memos created to give legal cover to the Administration to continue their policies of torturing prisoners of war, we suspect that most have not read the full, detailed 5-page investigative report.
But it's an important one, and it details the lengths to which the Bush team went to keep their pro-torture policies in place, even in the face of a DoJ rebellion, Congressional legislation, and even Supreme Court decisions. It was alarming to learn --- though we should hardly be alarmed at such things by now --- that when Bush signed the Detainee Treatment Act in December 2005, meant to ban the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in American custody anywhere in the world, he already knew, even if Congress didn't, that his Dept. of Justice had previously created secret legal documents declaring their ongoing torturous interrogation techniques as not "cruel, inhuman or degrading."
In other words, he knew he'd be able to continue with torture as usual, since new AG Alberto Gonzales oversaw the crushing of an internal DoJ rebellion finding the practices to be both illegal and in violation of the Geneva Convention.
Also alarming (but also, shouldn't be by now), is the lackluster way in which Congress has reacted to this stunning news which --- like so many other things --- might have led to immediate Impeachment talk for almost any other administration.
For those with short-attention spans, however (like the aforementioned Congress members!), the NYTimes story included an excellent sidebar graphic summarizing the timeline and main beats in the "Interrogation Wars" from DoJ to the White House to Congress to the Supreme Court.
Since the graphic is too wide to easily run on most blogs, we've recreated the short, easy to read timeline in text format below. We'd strongly suggest, if nothing else, you familiarize yourself with it so you understand, in simple terms, the con game that has been played out here by this Administration.
As a bonus, below that, is a video from last Thursday Daily Show with John Stewart in which he interviews Jack Goldsmith, once the head of the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel, and the man who fought back, along with Dep. AG James Comey, against the policies. Though successful in their efforts, for a time, and to an extent, both men were eventually pushed out of the DoJ, as Gonzales was dispatched to quell the rebellion as AG.
One very short and very amusing anecdote, if we may, before both of those, buried on page 5 of the Times report....