Zelikow testifies White House ordered anti-torture memo destroyed

news-zelikowOn Wednesday, May 12, UVA history professor Philip Zelikow testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his role in the internal debates in the Bush Administration over whether the Central Intelligence Agency should use torture techniques such as waterboarding on prisoners captured in the war on terror. Zelikow told the committee [pdf] that in February 2006, nearly a year after resigning his post as director of UVA's Miller Center of Public Affairs to serve as State Department Counselor under President Bush, he issued a memo advising against such tactics on legal grounds. According to Zelikow, White House officials told him "that copies of my memo should be collected and destroyed." Zelikow reported that the request "did not seem appropriate and I ignored it." Instead, he filed the memo in the State Department archives, where it is presently classified. Zelikow would leave the State Department and return to UVA to teach in 2007.
–photo courtesy the State Department


A Patriot in the best sense of the word.

I can't help but feel Mr. Zelikow is trying to cover himself with this testimony. By the time he joined the Bush Administration, he should have known what kind of people he was working for. However, the fact that he is coming forth now and testifying about this issue is to his credit. This country has engaged in torture and mistreatment of prisoners, in direct violation of the Geneva conventions, US law as well as simple human decency, and I thank Mr. Zelikow for him speaking out on this matter. Now if we could only get the Obama administration to fulfill their constitutional duty and hold those responsible to account for their actions. Instead of being interviewed by Fox News, Dick Cheney should be dragged into a court of law, and put in front of federal prosecutors and a grand jury. If "Tricky Dick" (version 2.0) wants to defend his actions, let him do so in front a judge.

I hope that when (not if) we get hit again it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we had someone in custody who was aware and their info could have prevented the disaster. Then you pampered little snowflakes will learn that if your opponent brings a knife to a boxing match it is ok to go get your gun.

Waterboarding is constitutional and nessasary when it it authorized by elected officials (the president) who considers the clear and present danger. This same man (the president) has the key to send nuclear weapons to kill potentially millions of people. If we trust his judgement on one we should trust his judgement on the other.

As for his legal opinions there are scholars that disagree.

I would like it if he named the name of the person that ordered the memos destroyed. "white House officials" sounds like a Denzel Washington movie. If your going to man up then man up for real.

My ID is irrelevant as I am not standing on my credentials other than being a US citizen. The ability to voice your opinion without retribution brings out the truth. I am not the one making claims against the staff of the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. If I were I would "man up" in a heartbeat because it would be relevant. My blog was an assertion of beliefs, not an assertion of unsubstanuated facts against the Presidents staff.

No, your blog postings are cowardly. And the ability to voice your opinions without fear of retribution are the hallmark of a coward. As to your reasoning that the president has constitutional powers to authorise the use of torture on anybody is sick and insane. Your assertion (voiced ad nauseum by your best friend, Dick Cheney) is that by using these methods of torturing suspects that we avoided another 9/11 style attack on the country under the sturdy and careful leadership of the Bush Administration. However, you seem to forget the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of American troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and believe me, those guys are getting hit on a regular basis. Why the hell would Al-queda and/or the Taliban take the time, effort and trouble of hitting the US again, when they have, what the armchair quarterbacks on the Sunday News shows, call a "Target Rich" environment. Our guys over there are paying for the stupidity and mendacity of the Bush Administration, and it looks like Oabama is about to make it a whole lot worse in Pakistan.
Only weak, cowardly and ultimately terrified people can justify the torture of another human being. And only sadistic little "Eichmanns" can carry it out. It's my understanding one of these alleged terror suspects had been waterboarded well over 80 times or so. Maybe more. and it revealed no information worth using. Despite the fact he had previously cooperated with his interrogators and had provided useful intel. Before he was tortured.
The point I want to make is that after about the 10th or 11th time, you would think, maybe, he wasn't going to tell you what you wanted to hear. A compassionate, thinking person might come to the conclusion that this is not working, and try something new, like treating them with some dignity and respect. Not because they deserve it, or because it's the politically correct, kumbaya thing to do, but because you might actually get some useful information out of him. A truly sick and venal person, on the other hand, would cheerfully keep dunking him until his superiors told him to stop. After all, he was only following orders.
So, by your reading of the constitution, then, Barack Obama has the legal, constitutionally authorized power to decide that anyone he thinks is a threat to the country can be taken away and tortured, all in the name of National Security. Do you really mean to support such a position. If that's the case, I can easily see why you wish to remain an anonymous coward on the internet.
One last thing. Since you seem to have a particular disgust with "unsubstantiated facts," I would guess you must feel a particular revulsion at all of the lies that were told to get our country into this awful war in the first place. To wit;
Dick Cheney: There is no doubt...no doubt...that Saddam Hussien has weapons of mass destructions.
George Bush; We found the weapons of mass destruction.
Donald Rumsfeld; We know where the weapons of mass destruction are. They are north, east, south and west of Baghdad.
Dick Cheney; It's a known fact that Mohammed Atta, the leader of the September 11 highjackers, had a secret meeting in Prague just a few months before the attacks.
Unsubstantiated facts? No, just flat out lies.

Pete Deer

Dear Pete,

I know you meant well but when you refused to beat the location of my daughter out of that kidnapper and she died I cannot help but think you are nothing but a coward in the face of danger.

You see Pete it takes a combination of common sense, loyalty, intelligence and bravery to keep peace in a world with evil all around. These are traits that you do not seem to posess, nor understand, so I am going to find a real man to protect me from these dangers.

While I expected you to look after my daughter, I would never have expected you to keep me safe from terrorists, so that is why I voted for people in the government who I feel have what it takes to do so. I put my faith in them for the alloted time and if they let me down I will vote for others until I get it right.

I know you and I disagree on the definition of torture, I do not consider waterboarding torture for the exact reason you cited. If it weere that bad I am sure the beans would have been spilled after the first time not the 80th. I think they should have tried something harsher. Perhaps they could have placed them in a building, hit it with an airliner and let them make the choice to stay and burn or jump 80 floors to their death. I'll bet the folks that were forced to make that decision would have told anything to get out of that circumstance.


Sarah Miles

I notice that instead of speaking to each point I bring up, you've resorted to personalizing the issue by bringing a loved into the mix. It's actually quite ridiculous. It's a typical technique employed by those who can't win an argument on it's merits, so instead you seek to personalize it by implying a clear and present danger to your daughter as an example. Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck would be proud of you.
It's pathetic, and since this argument is between me and you, what exactly does your daughter have to do with it? You want to use her as some kind of patriotic shield or something? There is something really wrong in this country when we have to have a discussion of justification of torture, under any circumstances.
Common sense, loyalty, intelligence and bravery. When I look at the past 8 years of the Bush administration (and the first 100 days of the currrent one), your use of those terms seem like a sick joke. As for your Jack Bauer fantasy of torturing your daughter's kidnapper, all I can say is you must have a really sick imagination.
Why, if torture is so effective, why don't we do it on all classes of criminals; pickpockets, dope smokers, corporate pigs who embezzle/bankrupt their companies while leaving the workers to fend for themselves? I worked real well during the Spanish Inquisition. Who would have thought all those witches and heretics were such a danger to the Holy Roman Church, eh? And the Salem Witch trials? Again, what a high point of American jurisprudence. Confess or be tortured. They must have been guilty, otherwise why would they be accused in the first place.
I understand it works real well in other places too, like the former USSR and present day China. Maybe we could import some torture specialists from North Korea? I bet they would get us all the information we need, and then some. Too bad Idi Amin's dead now, I bet he would have made a great Gitmo interrogator.
Your willingness to subvert our constitution and our rule of law (such as it is) does nothing to help our country and evertything to destroy it. If Dick Cheney wants to talk about the use of "enhanced interogation techniques," and how effective they were in protecting our country from further attack, I say let him do so. Under oath. In front of the Senate Judiciary committee. Otherwise, Cheney, and Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Yoo...the whole lot, are nothing more than a bunch of unindicted co-conspirators (war criminals) who have nothing but contempt for our constitutional republic.

Pete Deer

No, if you're going to man up, you wouldn't hide behind a fake name while posting comments in a public forum.

Pete Deer