Thursday, January 15, 2009

It Had Legal Opinions Behind It

In yet another farewell interview (via Andrew Sullivan), Larry King asked George W. Bush if he has any second thoughts:

KING: So there's nothing you've done in the area of treatment of prisoners that causes you any kind of pause?

G. BUSH: No. No. Everything we did was -- you know, it had legal -- legal opinions behind it. Look, you're sitting there, you've captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He's the guy that ordered the September the 11th attacks. And we want to know what he knows in order to protect the United States of America.

And I got legal opinions that said whatever we're going to do is legal. And my job is to protect you, Larry. And I've given it my all. I've given it my all.
In a way, the audacity of Bush's moral emptiness is admirable: somewhere along the line, a lawyer or two produced some "legal opinions" that furnished a rationale for "everything we did." He shows no interest in the who or when or even the what of these legal opinions, but only with the why as he sees it: "my job is to protect you, Larry."

I wonder what Bush thought his job was over the period between January 20, 2001 and September 11, 2001 -- a period of nearly eight months when Bush rather famously did not "give his all" in rounding up lawyers to issue legal opinions in support of the lawless pursuit of terrorists?

But never mind that, and never mind the presidential oath of office under which the president is sworn to defend the Constitution, not Larry King, not all Americans, not even the physical integrity of the USA. Who cares? Much like OJ Simpson and Al Capone, George W. Bush found lawyers willing to provide congenial legal opinions.

It may be objected that the image at the top of this post, lovingly borrowed from Married to the Sea, has nothing to do with the rest of the post.

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