Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Slate Magazine Take Two

No sooner did I criticize Slate Magainze for not including war law in its military fix-it list, then Jack Goldsmith posts on fixing "The Laws in Wartime."
Among his suggestions:

1) "Close Guantanamo." (He doesn't address what to do with the detainees or why closing Guantanamo is preferable to simply upholding detainee rights there.)

2) "Boost Trust" (By - wait for it - making more threat information available to a public that distrusts the government for inflating threats. Question: to what classified arseal of threat data does Goldsmith have access on which to build this case?)

3) "Fix Interrogation." He thinks we can do this not by preventing the CIA from breaking the rules, but by requiring the President to "make a classified finding giving reasons why aggressive techniques are required":

"This approach would maintain the option of using lawful interrogation techniques that might stave off a crisis, while at the same time addressing legitimate concerns about... legal compliance."
Come again? Lawful interrogation techniques are already an "option"; we don't require torture warrants for them. And how would another layer of justification for wanton violations of international law address concerns about the law?

One thing Goldsmith suggests makes sense: that the US should work with its allies to clarify how to apply the laws of war to asymmetric conflicts, instead of contining to interpret international law unilaterally. There is more support than is recognized for modifying the "quaint" old rules, but to be more than just treaty noncompliance the US needs to get its allies on board.


hank_F_M said...

When I lived in France someone jokingly said the French,if they had a Miranda warning, it would be “you are entitled to medical treatment after interrogation.” Which would also apply to most of Western Europe. I Wonder if Mr. Runsfeld and friends realize how “Old Europe” there GWOT jurisprudence is?

Why didn’t the administration remember they were elected on strict constructionist judicial philosophy?

If they had just stuck to their own principles when looking at the Geneva conventions.

Anonymous said...

We definitely should close Guantanamo. There are plenty of fine secret prisons in Eastern Europe that will take those folks (tongue firmly in, I can't believe I just said that). I applaud your assertion that "the US should work with its allies to clarify how to apply the laws of war to asymmetric conflicts..." The discussion is long overdue.

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