Following Up: The Memos

Friday, May 08, 2009

Scott Horton, law professor and a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine who writes their “No Comment” blog, update on the possibility of accountability of torture memo authors.


Scott Horton

Comments [15]

markbnj from

Hey Guys.

I told Brian (and the rest of the world (over 3 years ago that we NEEDED:

A WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL for the Bush Jr. Administration.

May. 08 2009 11:33 AM
C.G. from Manhattan

I'm confused. Prof. Horton says that receiving orders to inflict harsh treatment or torture on Abu Ghraib detainees constitutes mitigation in terms of sentence, but not a defense on the issue of guilt. If that is the case, then it would be curious that the OLC memos amounted to a defense for CIA operatives that relied on them. Why can't the Abu Ghraib defendants use the same defense?

BTW, I am not saying that what Abu Ghraib defendants did or what the CIA did was morally defensible, but if the law treats them differently, there should be a clear reason for doing so.

May. 08 2009 11:29 AM
Scott from Cambridge, MA


Can you please not use the euphemism of "enhanced interrogation methods" that the administrations want the MSM to use? It's torture, plain and simple. It would be great if you referred to it as such.

May. 08 2009 11:25 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

I miss President Bush's leadership on this topic.

May. 08 2009 11:23 AM
Hugh from Brookyn

How many times must it be said that torture is a crime under international and domestic law. The President is bound under the Constitution to uphold the law.

Ignorance of the law is no defense. "Following orders" is no defense.

These legal principles have repeatedly and widely been reaffirmed for 60 years.

Why why why are Americans exempt from laws that they _demand_ others obey?!

May. 08 2009 11:22 AM
Robert from NYC

yes, criminally prosecuted. Get it out man, that's what you mean. It's not a witch hunt it's a matter of legality. Don't back off from your convictions.

May. 08 2009 11:20 AM
Karen from NYC

Can I tell Peter to go soak his head? As a joke, I mean?

May. 08 2009 11:20 AM
Karen from NYC

Lots of luck, Scott. When I first worked as an attorney 18 years ago, at a top NYC law firm, I thought that my job, when assigned a memo, was to examine the law. Wrong. My job was to examine the law, and then come up with a winning theory for the client. Saying "Sorry -- we lose," was a good way to be labeled a lousy lawyer.

I solved my problem by moving to a firm whose clients political ideology was closer to my own. (I'm a liberal Democrat.) I still have to find that theory, but I feel more comfortable doing so.

May. 08 2009 11:19 AM
Mexicans 4 Palestine from Jackson Heights, Queens

The U.S, Israel along with China are not ICC signatories, these crimes fall under the category of crimes against humanity.

The fact that they are not makes these societies breeding gorunds for such behavior!

May. 08 2009 11:19 AM
Kitty from NJ

Yes, I was forced to write a memo advocating a side where the law was not on our client's side. It made me so uncomfortable I shortly left that firm.

May. 08 2009 11:19 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


Enhanced interrogation is better than thousands of Americans dying from lack of action. Please thank President Bush for protecting Americans and demonstrating courage and leadership.

May. 08 2009 11:18 AM
Andy from Brooklyn

John Yoo is the perfect example of lawyers run amok. Attorneys fail to regulate their profession so we have to do it. He has a moral obligation to pay for his recommendations.

May. 08 2009 11:13 AM
Hugh from Brookyn

President Obama calls waterboarding torture. International law and American precedent calls it torture and a war crime.

So why are Brian Lehrer and so many 'journalists' still using the Bush Newspeak of "enhanced interrogation techniques".

Show some courage. Show some honesty.

May. 08 2009 11:13 AM
Bobby G from East Village

The failure to prosecute torture, except for underlings such as Lindee England, is a measure of how far the moral standing of the United States has fallen since the Nuremberg Trials.

The only redemption from this shameful episode would be to hold to account not only the lawyers (Yoo, Bybee, et. al), but Addington, Cheney, Rice and Bush.

After 9-11, instead of focusing all our energy on capturing Bin Laden and destroying Al Qaeda, Bush let them set-up in Pakistan, instituted a policy of torture and the invaded a country totally unrelated to 9-11.

Now we are stuck preventing a more powerful Al Qaeda-Taliban nexus from getting their hands on the Pakistani nukes.

May. 08 2009 11:06 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Hey Brian,

I suggest that you get to the heart of this torture matter. Please ask Mr. Horton, “If your mother, wife or other loved one was kidnapped and facing death, rape, or worse, would you support the torture of one of the kidnappers to save your loved one?”

You could also ask Mr. Horton, “Do you support torture during the ticking bomb scenario? For example, a suicide bomber is loose in Egypt and the Egyptian police have in custody the taxi driver who picked up and dropped off the suicide bomber. Should the Egyptian police use torture tactics rather then simply wait for dozens, hundreds or thousands of people to be blown up?”

May. 08 2009 10:22 AM

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