Thursday, April 16, 2009

pride of the profession

It's late, and I've had a long day, so I don't feel like getting too deep into the torture memos right now. But I'm up for a quick comment.

Meet Jay Bybee. Mr. Bybee worked hard to become a top flight attorney. He was magna cum laude at BYU, cum laude at BYU law school, made the school's law review, gained a sought-after clerkship with a federal judge, worked as a law professor for 10 years, and co-authored two books.

All so that he could find himself working for George W. Bush in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, where the crowning achievement of his stellar legal career was to legally authorize CIA interrogators to torture a man with, among other things, "stinging insects".

You see, the CIA had been torturing the man for some number of days or weeks (or months or years) using other methods such as controlled drowning, beatings, imprisoning him in a tiny box for long periods, swinging his body against the walls of his cell, hanging him by his wrists for hours at a time, and during this laborious process they had learned that he had a mortal fear of insects. Naturally, their first instinct was to use this fear to torture him further. But before they could carry out such a thing, they first needed to avail themselves of the Torture Hall Passes that the Justice Department was churning out during the Bush years.

Enter Jay Bybee, fresh off a stint teaching "Constitutional Law" to our newest crop of young lawyers-to-be. Bybee opined that locking the man in a dark box, approximately the size of a coffin, and inserting an insect in the box with him for the night, would only be ok if they inserted a non-stinging insect and told him it was a stinging insect. But, otherwise, no problem!

[When I first read this, my immediate thought was of "Room 101" and the passage in 1984 where O'Brien explains the concept of "the worst thing in the world". Striking similarity. Unfortunately, Sullivan blogged it before I did.]

Mr. Bybee's former law professors must be very proud. As must the judge he clerked for, his former students, and undoubtedly his Mom and Dad. But don't worry. The story has a happy ending. Thanks to our illustrious former president, Mr. Bybee now enjoys lifetime tenure as a federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

More here (long post, scroll down for the good stuff).

8 comments:

Gleemonex said...

Seriously, it is at times like these that I find myself hoping that there is a real, actual hell to which vile swine like Bybee &co. will be dispatched for all eternity after their human husks rot.

HHL said...

yes.. and in the meantime, we should put them in prison. unfortunately, obama doesn't appear to have the stomach for it -- he'll only do it if there is a massive public outcry... and I'm not holding my breath for that.

Kingfish said...

The Obama Administration doesn't want to declare war on the CIA.

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