The Torture Syllogism

· long story short

Aide Says President Set Guidelines for Interrogations, Not Specific Techniques, Washington Post, June 9, 2004
McClellan called the memo a historic or scholarly review of laws and conventions concerning torture. “The memo was not prepared to provide advice on specific methods or techniques,” he said. “It was analytical.”
OK. Let’s analyze. These are excerpts from the article. The boldface text is mine. –DKo
1. Bush’s directive was to do everything in his power, short of going contrary to law.
“He felt very keenly that his primary responsibility was to do everything within his power to keep the country safe, …” the official said. “That is not to say he was ready to authorize stuff that would be contrary to law. The whole reason for having the careful legal reviews that went on was to ensure he was not doing that.”
White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales… “Anytime a discussion came up about interrogations with the president,…the directive was, ‘Make sure it is lawful. Make sure it meets all of our obligations under the Constitution, U.S. federal statutes and applicable treaties.'”
2. Conducting torture was within his power, and was not contrary to law.
[T]he Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel… said that torturing suspected al Qaeda members abroad “may be justified” and that international laws against torture “may be unconstitutional if applied….”
[T]he Justice Department concluded that laws outlawing torture do not bind Bush because of his constitutional authority to conduct a military campaign.
3. Bush’s directive was to conduct torture.