Bad Lawyers, Secession Talk, and Rewriting the Novel.

There are a couple of recent stories in the news that I think are worthy of comment, but I’m posting this from work so I’ll be brief.

First, I get why the Obama administration has promised that they’re not going to prosecute the CIA agents who followed Bush administration policy and tortured people in the name of national security post-9/11: they were doing a difficult job under circumstances that may (may) have made the relative morality of their actions seem, if not actually good, then at least not so bad.  Also, they were told by the administration’s lawyers, over and over again, that what they were doing wasn’t “torture” and it was all perfectly legal.

Advice of counsel is a viable defense in criminal prosecutions, so I suppose it’s reasonable for it to apply here.  That said, I hope the asshat lawyers who wrote memos to order for the Bush/Cheney cabal condoning torture all get disbarred.

Second story:  Let me get this straight. Spending a trillion dollars to fight a war in a country that didn’t commit terrorist acts on U.S. territory is perfectly fine and questioning it makes you an unpatriotic terrorist sympathizer, but spending a trillion dollars on rebuilding infrastructure and other projects here at home is a crime against the Constitution and the American people that warrants states seceding from the Union (check this link too)?

Finally, as a personal update, I went back to Scrivener and cut 12,000 words from Meet the Larssons last night, but typed in 1205 words of the new first chapter.  I’m still going through the last couple hundred pages with a pen in my hand, but the rewrite has begun in earnest.  I’m very glad to be back at the computer.

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4 responses to “Bad Lawyers, Secession Talk, and Rewriting the Novel.

  1. Holy hell man that’s great – about the writing.

    As for the other two….GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE.

    I really like living here, being an America; but sometimes I wonder about those with whom I share my nationality. I really do.

    I can’t help but think of one thing when I read about Georgia and Texas. I think of a couple of spoiled children stomping their feet and throwing a tantrum because they don’t like the new babysitter.

    But maybe that’s just me.

  2. I have to disagree on torture. I believe it to be evil and if these men are not prosecuted then this will happen again. “Color of law” may a defense, but a flimsy one and the legal code of ethics of all states prohibits lawyers from using their legal skills to allow clients to commit crimes.

    These are war crimes and crimes against humanity. If these crimes (and those who ordered them, justified them and committed them) are not brought to the courts then they will be repeated. Committing evil acts in the name of good in my mind makes the acts that much more heinous.

    Mens Rea+ Actus Rea is a basic legal principle, but we still can not read the mind of men so we must rely on their actions.

    As for the idea of seceding. In that I agree with your assessment 110%. I mean it worked so well the last time….right?

    • J.C. – I am barely willing to excuse Georgia on the grounds that state legislators often do surprisingly stupid things, either because the legislators involved are, in fact, not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, or because if you’re not one of the leaders you get no input, no voice, and no time to read anything before votes. Sounds like what happened there was a combination. Gov. Perry in Texas, however, knew exactly what he was saying, and I’d like him to explain his repayment plan for all federal disaster aid he has accepted in during his term.

      Ralph – I don’t disagree with much of what you said, except that I don’t blame the line agents nearly as much as I blame the lawyers. The CIA asked about the legality of these techniques. I don’t think it’s helpful to then prosecute the individual agents for following that advice. It was Yoo and his ilk who provided the rationale. As far as I’m concerned, what the lawyers did was worse than the actions of any individual agents. I don’t know whether it’s prosecutable, but I sure as hell think they should be disbarred.

  3. As the saying goes, “Too many people claim they were only following orders.”

    That said- I would rather focus punishment on the leaders who enforced it.

    Good luck with the revision. Momentarily suffering on mine. ack!

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