Spelling it out: Rules are rules
FROM: Your Department of Justice
RE: Defending Our Way of Life
In recent days, there have been widespread media reports about a secret memorandum, now declassified, which originated in this Department in March of 2003. The memorandum, titled “Military Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants Held Outside the United States,” was one of several prepared by this Department in the period after the attacks of September 11, 2001. These memoranda were drafted to provide guidance to U.S. personnel in their ongoing efforts to protect the American homeland from further terrorist attacks.
As media reports have indicated, some of the guidance contained in these memoranda has since been modified, and in some cases rescinded, as conditions on the ground have changed, and as key positions within this Department and elsewhere have been filled with wimps.
Nonetheless, the thinking behind these memoranda remains very much in force in selected areas of this Administration. Accordingly, and as part of the Administration’s continuing commitment to be as open with the American people as circumstances permit, the following summary is being made available to further public understanding.
What We’re Allowed To Do:
3. The other thing
Who We’re Allowed To Do It To:
1. These guys
2. Those guys
3. Everybody else
Why We’re Allowed To Do It:
1. We say so
3. We say so
The Scope Of Presidential Authority:
1. This is war
2. The President is the Commander in Chief
3. Are you deaf?
The Effect Of International Laws And Treaties:
1. Don’t make us laugh
2. Don’t make us come over there
What The Limits Are:
1. About what you’d expect
2. If we tell you, the enemy will know
3. Behavior that “shocks the conscience”
Whose Conscience In Particular:
1. Dick Cheney’s conscience
Why This Isn’t Torture:
1. We say so
3. We say so
The Impact Of These Activities On America’s Standing In The World:
3. We don’t need no stinkin’ standing!
Stricter Standards For Domestic Anti-Terror Activities
1. Oh, definitely
2. That’s why there’s a Bill of Rights
3. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it
Respect For Americans’ Privacy:
1. As much as you need
2. We’re all doing our part
3. Who’s this “Ahmad”?
Anything Else We’re Not Telling You:
1. Absolutely not
2. That would be classified
3. Don’t you trust us?
Your cooperation is appreciated. (Not that we need it.)
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.