Rummy: It’s Jim Haynes’ Fault

Justin Elliott at TPMM takes a close look at Donald Rumsfeld, scrambling for excuses, for his involvement in trashing the Geneva Convention. As Elliott points out, Rummy’s excuse of "process" is pretty lame.

But I’m also interested in the way Rummy blames Jim Haynes, DOD’s General Counsel. Elliott quotes from Rummy biographer Bradley Graham:   

With the passage of time, Rumsfeld has come to recognize that he made a mistake, although he sees the error as one of process, not basic judgment. He faults himself for taking too legalistic an approach initially, saying it would have been better if senior Pentagon officials responsible for policy and management matters had been brought in earlier to play more of a role and provide a broader perspective. As he explained in an interview in late 2008, policies were developing so fast in the weeks after the September 11 attacks that he did not follow his own normal procedures. "All of a sudden, it was just all happening, and the general counsel’s office in the Pentagon had the lead," he said. "It never registered in my mind in this particular instance–it did in almost every other case–that these issues ought to be in a policy development or management posture. Looking back at it now, I have a feeling that was a mistake. In retrospect, it would have been better to take all of those issues and put them in the hands of policy or management." 

Granted, this is a version of the same argument Jack Goldsmith (who came into DOD’s OGC in spring 2002) makes–things got out of hand because everything was so legalistic.

The excuse is credible given what we know of Rummy’s December 2002 approval of harsh interrogation methods. Jim Haynes’ office served as a gatekeeper, ensuring that none of the services–the policy people–could weigh in on the stupidity of torturing detainees. And then, with almost no review, Rummy signed off on a one page memo authorizing the use of the techniques.

At the same time, I’m most interested in the timing. "In the weeks after the September 11 attacks … the general counsel’s office in the Pentagon had the lead." This puts Haynes in the mix much earlier than–for example–the Senate Armed Services Committee Report on torture does. The SASC Report first records Haynes’ office soliciting JPRA for interrogation techniques in December 2001–early, certainly, but not exactly the "weeks after the September 11 attacks."

In December 2001, more than a month before the President signed his memorandum, the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel’s Office had already solicited information on detainee "exploitation" from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), an agency whose expertise was in training American personnel to withstand interrogation techniques considered illegal under the Geneva Conventions. 

What I suspect Rummy’s really saying, though, is that the War Council–run by Haynes’ mentor David Addington–was really in charge, and that Addington worked the bureaucracies he knew well (he had worked at both DOD and CIA) to trash the Geneva Convention in a decentralized but effective way.

If I’m right about what this really means, though, then for some reason Rummy still doesn’t want to go there.

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  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Rummy doesn’t want to go there because he violated US law, international law, and a couple of treaties.

    The worry among the torturers seems to be that the straw that’ll break the camels back might become public. But there are so many possible straws.

    Obama’s protection will only extend so far. He won’t endanger his own position. Rummy was already thrown under the bus by his own side, so he’s got to be more nervious than most. There never was an offical explanation for his being rushed to a US embassy and then snuck out of France.

    Boxturtle (Not sure he’s visited Europe since)

    • perris says:

      Obama’s protection will only extend so far. He won’t endanger his own position

      in that case it’s time we finally started holding obama as an accomplice after the fact

  2. SaltinWound says:

    Off topic, but the crazy overreaction of Palin’s lawyer to the bloggers is a lot like the response she begged the McCain camp to have, during the campaign, before Schmidt refused.

  3. klynn says:

    EW,

    Some great posts in the last 10 days. I have reading access to your blog but still limited comment access due to computer failures which are being repaired as I type this.

    What I suspect Rummy’s really saying, though, is that the War Council–run by Haynes’ mentor David Addington–was really in charge, and that Addington worked the bureaucracies he knew well (he had worked at both DOD and CIA) to trash the Geneva Convention in a decentralized but effective way.

    If I’m right about what this really means, though, then for some reason Rummy still doesn’t want to go there.

    And yet, one would think, the pressure would make him want to “go there”. So, it would be nice to have Rumsfeld inform us more in-depth about the “counter-pressure” keeping him from going there. But Rummy does not “do” nice.

  4. klynn says:

    BTW,

    I think you transferred your “going on a trip curse” where all hits the fan when out-of-town. I am just back from Southern Maine. Think about all that has gone down in the last 11 days.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    What I suspect Rummy’s really saying, though, is that the War Council–run by Haynes’ mentor David Addington–was really in charge…

    In other words, the Legalistics were in charge. All trees; no forest.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s a claim every CEO throws out when he’s knowingly signed false SEC statements or tax returns. Blame the lawyers and tax accountants, they made me lie and cheat because otherwise I wouldn’t have made as much money or have avoided liability by not telling my shareholders how I trashed their company to pay my bonus.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Truer words were never typed.
        Not all CEOs.

        And with no enforcement, what could be easier, eh…?

        Nevertheless, Haynes is definitely part of the problem here.
        He needs to among the accountable.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Agreed, not all CEO’s, just the most avaricious and who lied on their SEC disclosure and tax forms.

        • valletta says:

          I’ll never forget Haynes’ testimony in front of some Congressional committee or other and he was soooooo disappointing and unimpressive, a la Alberto/Fredo. My mouth dropped. He couldn’t remember anything, didn’t know anything. I had a hard time believing he had a law degree. Astonishing. I’ll try to find the video….

          • Mary says:

            I don’t know what you had in mind, but his testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee over his nomination to the fourth circuit was pretty bad – and pretty much outright fibbing vis a vis the knowledge and participation of JAG in the “working group” memo that was signed out by Rummy. They saw a draft of it, unanimously opposed it, heard nothing more, were informed of Haynes statement to Leahy about policy not being to engage in cruel, degrading, humiliating, etc. activity, thought it was the end of things, then found out about a year later that the “draft” that they thought was deep sixed actually got signed out. Haynes’ testimony on the JAG involvement in the working group memo was “disingenuous” to say the least. So much so that even Graham joked on it.

    • MarkH says:

      Rummy was AWOL during the 9/11 attacks and now claims he was AWOL when it came to making decisions about policy soon after that.

      This does not look good on his resume.

      • x174 says:

        we’re a little beyond resumes at this point.

        we’re talking matter for the historical record.

        prosecutable conduct.

        possible jail time.

      • Rayne says:

        See my comment at (60) – perfect example of Rummy’s decision-making right there, WRT the former OSI (which, btw, was launched 31-OCT-2001, with Rummy announcing closure of the OSI on 26-FEB-2002).

        He wasn’t AWOL. He just expected whatever was supposed to be done was done, didn’t give a rat’s butt whether the law or the public cared otherwise.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bob McNamara, too, never came to grips with his involvement in the lies and losses of Vietnam. Unlike Rummy, he seemed to try, but he could never grasp why his quantitative brilliance deepened the quagmire instead of draining the swamp of them commies. I think it was because he never pointed his critical faculties at himself; he avoided looking into the abyss to save his ego and thereby doomed others.

      • fatster says:

        Yes, he did have that major blind spot, didn’t he? Meanwhile, 58,000 of ours and unknown numbers of Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians perished. And for what? I can no more figure that out than he could figure out the immense responsibility he had in the whole damnable debacle.

  6. brendanx says:

    I never did see that asshole at the bus stop again and, thankfully, won’t have the chance, having moved.

  7. kgb999 says:

    While it is a minor mention, the SASC report (pg.5) references an Oct 2, 2001 email from SERE psychologist Morgan Banks to GTMO (Paul Burney) & [REDACTED] warning SERE techniques are different when used on detainees. So we can definitively place initial inquiries sometime before this date.

    The new information here is that Rumsfeld has confirmed that Haynes was involved in these earliest discussions. My question is if the information was intentionally withheld from the SASC – or was it omitted from the report for some reason.

    BTW: A while back, I did a time line based on the SASC detainee report that includes some points missing from the torture timeline here. I posted it over at TPM if you want to take a look (it’s kind of sloppy, but the updated version is too large to post).

    • emptywheel says:

      Thanks–I had looked at the timeline (how could I not!!).

      Double check–but I think that email was from 2002, not 2001 (Gitmo wasn’t Gitmo yet in October 2001). I THINK the earliest SASC has DOD is December 2001.

      • kgb999 says:

        Of course, you are correct. What a difference a year makes, eh? (Once TPM’s system started cutting the end off the thing – the joy kind of went out of working on it … but that needs fixed, thnx)

        But still, why would Rummy now be referencing Haynes’ early involvement with no mention in the SASC report? Wonder where the information breakdown happened.

        • emptywheel says:

          That’s why I think it was War COuncil: not Haynes as Haynes, but Haynes as Addington’s acolyte.

          Also, I do think he’s talking about the document Elliott links to–GC not applying to AQ. But still–that’s four months later.

          I think Mary’s probably right in looking at the focus on military commissions not long after 9/11.

  8. Mary says:

    While I think Haynes was largely responsible, I think what you have is a little bit of what you had with Cheney & Libby v. Bush & Rove. Haynes is Cheney’s boy – Rumsfeld’s boy is/was Cambone. I don’t buy for a moment that Cambone wasn’t involved up to his eyeballs.

    The “weeks afer” is pretty interesting. It’s equally interesting that in the “weeks after” one of the memos generated by OLC was Philbin’s military commissions memo. That memo, among other things, says that one reason military commissions could be used for people captured by the military in the Afghan incursion (as opposed to our precedent of Noriega style handling, with captures handed off for trial) is that the Geneva Conventions would apply to the incursion. Oops.

    And while it was not in the “weeks” after 9/11, as things progressed you did have Taft at State weighing in STRONGLY (and signing out the memo on it too) that 50 years of adherence to the Geneva Conventions should not be abandoned as a POLICY matter – what, Rumsfeld was just clueless that Powell was embroiled in a fight on this topic, with Addington/Gonzales/Yoo arrayed against him? Really? Rummy just didn’t know? He thinks someone would buy that? Rumsfeld didn’t know that all of JAG was aligned against the Haynes torture policies?

    In any event, the lawyers are the ones they all see as most protected from recourse, as *just* giving advice. He’s not only a good guy to shove stuff off on, but it protects Cambone & Rumsfeld and keeps Cheney involved to protect a part of “his” team. I don’t think we’ve ever heard much about the bounty payment policy which spawned so much that was so bad. Haynes might have been working on that as early as the weeks after. Then there was the whole concept of GITMO. The “why” of GITMO. Why were we mobilizing to build a detention facility in Guantanamo, Cuba in re: to a quest to capture al-Qaeda in Afghanistan? Yeah – Rumsfeld had no policy input on that. Umm hmmm. Rumsfeld had no policy input in setting up parallel chains of command for GITMO or on removing Lehnert?

    It’s a nice ploy and it does show that Mr. “Good at Paperwork” Haynes was really dipping his toe in from the get go, even before his Dec 2001 formal efforts to initiate an extrajudicial torture program. But Rumsfeld’s pretense at “golly, how was I to know” falls pretty flat. What – he didn’t notice that he was getting some stuff that was deliberately cutting Powell and State out? What – he never sat down to chit chat with Powell over proper policy going into one war – or the next?

    Maybe he was so distracted initially over trying to get the Iraq war started that he wasn’t directly involved in Cheney’s hemisphere – what Haynes was doing to convert spheres of the military into torture gulags. But whether it was earlier or later, at some point he was involved in the policy decisions. And his proxy was Cambone, who equally gets protection by directing scrutiny towards Haynes only. Rumsfeld was not a novice to power and of course he knew that he, not Haynes, set the policy. He was the guy making wisecracks on how long to keep detainees standing, etc. He was signing off on legalistic memos, but still memos that needed his policy approval to be instituted.

    In one of the last scenes Mayer describes in her piece on Mora, you had a meeting taking place in Rumsfeld’s sanctuary. There, “One by one, the military officers argued for returning the U.S. to what they called the high ground.”

    Except there were two holdouts. One was Haynes. The other?

    Cambone. Rumsfeld’s “policy” guy. And their arguments for not adopting the Geneva Conventions standards, even after Abu Ghraib?

    They argued that the articulated standard would limit America’s “flexibility.” It also might expose Administration officials to charges of war crimes: if Common Article Three became the standard for treatment, then it might become a crime to violate it. Their opposition was enough to scuttle the proposal.

    emph added

    The piece then has Mora reading from the War Crimes Act.

    Which the Democrats in Congress obligingly helped Lindsey Graham revise, to not only give amnesty for already completed crimes but to change the definition for future commissions and ommissions. Everyone could watch Clinton and Obama “vote” against the MCA and its changes to the War Crimes Act, but never actually WORK against it. And now, of course, Obama is all for it. Amnesty and changes to law generated by Congress are much preferable to having to besmirch his steepled fingers with the ink from pardons granted under HIS name. And better even than changing the law and amnesty is to so politically and wholly own the Dept of Justice as to just direct it to not investigate war crimes tied to his office or to anyone he chooses to protect.

    • Garrett says:

      Rumsfeld didn’t know that all of JAG was aligned against the Haynes torture policies?

      Wouldn’t he have a finely honed sense of what he can and cannot back down from now?

      “I wish I had gone with Taft and Powell on the policy stuff” is OK. Any hint of doubt on the legal part, then or now, they just cannot ever express.

      “I took too legalistic an approach.” Bunk. But very well played.

      • Mary says:

        Heck, maybe he can even claim he just never had an opportunity to go with them on that policy stuff for that matter. I think Taft’s memos were directed to WH, not DOD, but I may be wrong on that. In any event, once Cheney/Rice/Bellinger began excluding Powell from the recieve list on drafts of some of this stuff by reducing down the members of NSC who got access, Rumsfeld could claim he had no idea of Powells input bc of the segregation approach on info.

        It is well played, but like a well played hand of poker in a game of Canasta.

  9. Mary says:

    It would be kind of interesting if the article on Rumsfeld had gone next to someone like Matthew Waxman to ask if he was aware that Rummy was never involved in any policy decisions on torture -that it was all Haynes.

  10. GregB says:

    I love how all of the smug moral certainty that all of these goons and dickwads engaged in has now devolved into a hazy and unclear recounting of events and a portrayal of them all as victims of circumstances instead of the great actors who were creators of the reality at the time.

    Morally flaccid clowns without a cintilla of honor.

    -G

  11. skdadl says:

    And to the topic: but what about the fabled mentor relationship between Cheney and Rumsfeld? At one time — olden days, I guess, but still — wasn’t Cheney Rumsfeld’s boy? Why are we supposed to believe that there was any serious divergence of interests between them once the Bush admin came into office?

    • bobschacht says:

      Why are we supposed to believe that there was any serious divergence of interests between them once the Bush admin came into office?

      But in the Bush Admin, each had their own fiefdoms to develop and protect. Even if they started out on the same page, their own interests would diverge as each built his own fiefdom.

      Bob from HI

  12. Rayne says:

    OT – DOJ has launched an antitrust probe into telecom industry. No details.

    Wonder if this is a political gambit since it sounds like a market review rather than an investigation of specific problems. Lots of pressure now for pervasive wireless; wonder if the telecoms will push back using extortion-like tactics.

  13. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Legalistic” is correct. The process was not procedural or legal. It was made to look that way, while the main actors were skirting legitimate processes, bureaucratic players and the law to do what they wanted to do. Most especially that included Don Rumsfeld and his patron, Dick Cheney (reversing the roles they had in Gerald Ford’s administration).

    Blaming “process” in this context is a refrain on blaming lawyers for having to go around the law – it sells well in exclusive country club locker rooms where the boyz natter on about how the law restricts their making money or the tax regime that takes it away again.

    Rummy’s claim is self-serving rubbish. For the several years after 9/11, Congress would have changed any law, toppled any hurdle, to give the codpiece-in-chief any power he demanded (and several he didn’t).

    I expect to hear two things from war criminal Don Rumsfeld – Reagan did it too and it’s Bubba Clinton’s fault.

    • Rayne says:

      Yes, exactly, this is a feature, not a bug, that Haynes and the other lawyers made this all so legalistic. They put the guys up front of the process which they assumed would be best prepared to defend against legal charges, and at the same time were least likely to earn the sympathies of the public if the firewall was breached.

      They are throwing the lawyers into the grinder and under the bus.

      • Mary says:

        I wouldn’t exactly say they were throwing lawyers under the bus.

        Not one lawyer involved was too naive to know exactly what they were doing and they did it in a format that they thought would allow them to get away with it – via misues of OLC authority (and AG/DOJ as well, since apparently Ashcroft was also giving his personal approvals).

        So the lawyers being the *responsible* parties for generating the “you CAN do it if you want to” memos, cranked out with no real due diligence, much less legal basis, is a working feature that the lawyers knew would be a working feature. Meanwhile, the lawyers for their part will be “throwing under the bus” (but not) the policy makers by saying their opinions were limited to the incomplete facts they were given and their opinions were just opinions, not directives, and they don’t set policy or have the authority to direct anyone to take any kind of action – that would be Sec of Def and CIA chief etc.

        So they aren’t so much throwing under the bus as playing out a pre-agreed game of pong. See, the lawyers weren’t telling anyone what to do and didn’t have all the facts and made their reliance opinions very fact specific as their out; the policy makers could say well we just wanted to do everything we legally could, that’s all, and DOJ told us it was legal and Congress knew all about it (yeah, right); and the actual actors would be able to say – hey, how did we know that the policymakers didn’t give OLC ALL the relevant facts, we’re just out here in a dangerous environment trying to do the righ thing and we were told that what we were doing was legal and that it was policy and we had a good faith reliance.

        See- it’s really three way pong, bc you have to include the actual torture implementers and how they are interwoven in the “no responsiblity for anyone” magic carpet. Legal – Policy – Implementers. If you read Scheuer’s testimony it’s all abuot the Nuremberg defense – we were just doing what the lawyers said was legal. It’s another feature and the finger pointing isn’t so much throwing each other under the bus, it’s keeping the man in the middle spinning round and round and disoriented. More tag-teaming than tossing. It keeps the information providers constantly left footed.

        • Rayne says:

          At any point in time the lawyers could have simply done the right thing.

          They didn’t. We’ve seen time and time again where they added caveats and disclaimers, “based on the information available”, or “you’ve asked us to assess” or whatever other weasel words they could use to yield the desired ends.

          With a very few exceptions, the lawyers didn’t say, “this is against the law” or “I’m not going to write one gawddamned thing about this and put my name to it because I don’t have all the information,” or “the ends are ultimately illegal and wrong, no matter the caveats.”

          You can call it pong, but the lawyers were supposed to adhere to a code of ethics which goes above and beyond simply making it happen for the boss/bosses. They also should have known all along that a key defense would be reliance on expert opinion, the very reason they were there to begin with.

          It certainly makes it damned near impossible to hold accountable those who ordered/expected/demanded torture and those who carried it out because the lawyers turned their back on their profession.

          In the end they’ve probably f*cked themselves because if ever the truth all comes out, there will be plenty of citizens demanding the lawyers be prosecuted FIRST.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            The top lawyers – Addington, Haynes, Yoo, Gonzales – were all in on the gig. Each had personal supporters and they deserve a special place in the dock.

            Those lower down the totem pole didn’t have a lot to work with, yet many of them spoke out. They were hampered by laws that restrict public discussion of what they know as bureaucrats and by legal rules that prohibit disclosure of a client’s information.

            Until the Libby case went to trial, Cheney and Bush were virtually untouchable except in a few Op-Ed pages. The press, the public, the Beltway Boys, Congress were overwhelmingly on their side. The organized bar sat on its hands; there was much conjecture, a few facts, but little that would stand up in court – assuming you could get there.

            Middle ranking bureaucrats were fired or ostracized for opposing Cheney and his network, in ways that made it hard to find other work. The reaction to the Wilsons was simply the most public.

          • Mary says:

            At any point in time the lawyers could have simply done the right thing.

            LOL – believe it or not, I’m not really anyone you have to convince on that – I think I’ve been saying it pretty emphatically for several years now. I’m not sure where you’ve been if you are just now getting to the point of realizing that they knew all along a reliance opinion would be sought (and I’ve said all along that the original Bybee memo wouldn’t do it – so now we have what they did use) and that it was an integral part of the torture conspiracy.

            But that’s the very reason why you can’t call what Rumsfeld is doing “throwing them under the bus.” They agreed to participate in a conspiracy to torture and they knowingly set it up in a manner that would facilitate being able to play pong, or man in the middle. So when the ball gets tossed from one to another, you have to recognize that isn’t someone being thrown under the bus, it’s how they meant for the game to played. They toss the hot potato, but they do it knowing that whoever they toss it to can toss if off again, and to the next person, and to the next …

            I’ve said it over and over – that what Mora started to do, and what Taft and Zelikow did follow through on (although not strongly) is absolutely what should have been done over and over. The lawyers shouldn’t have played the Goldsmith/Comey games of withdrawing a memo, but not replacing it with a clear cut override, or having private tsk tsk emails after private discussions where you go ahead and put protecting the people who have already tortured under the old memos ahead of anything else.

            That realization you are having about how hard it makes it to hold anyone responsible is why I have said that the way to go originally would be, not so much to try to fight the first battle as being the issuance of the torture approval opinions, but to fight the first battles on the obstruction fronts – from a statutory, duty to Congress, duty to the courts and ethical duty standpoint.

            You can spin wheels a long time on who should be held responsible and how over a crappy, incompetent opinion (and the OPR investigation, having a limited mandate that focuses primarily on just that issue is going to be fairly worthless) that authorizes authorizes torture. There is a much stronger and easier way to shift the battle to a winning footing, if your first battles are over things like lies and misrepresentations to the courts and Congress and destruction of evidence.

            Spin all you want about whether a bad opinion was intentially bad, but it won’t make a nickels worth of difference on the more clear cut issue of who had the duty to send out preservation notices and when with respect to litigation, who had knowledge of pictures, reports, memos, etc. that were not being provided to the court or defense counsel or petititoners in even a redacted listing, who knew of destruction of evidence and didn’t tell the courts, who knew of mistatements to Congress and didn’t correct the record, etc. Those things don’t have nearly the proof of intent issues and they shift the advantage in the battle a lot.

            If Durham isn’t a court jester, his is one of the kinds of things that make for a good, clean, clear first battle. But his mandate is way too limited, even if he is willing to do the right thing. As people start looking at charges on obstruction and destruction – that’s when you can start to get the kinds of investigatory mandates and/or turned witnesses you need to prove up the “knowing” and “intent” elements for the rest of the crimes.

            fwiw

            • Rayne says:

              You and I aren’t going to agree on whether this was “pong” or hot potato as the conspiracy. The lawyers knew they were setting up a Nuremberg defense, and that alone deserves a special place in hell as well as the dock; you can’t tell me that any lawyer escapes law school without having heard of or discussing the Nuremberg defense, which means they had an ethical obligation to stop this from the first request by a senior official or a request for permission authorization by a lower official, staffer or contractor.

              The conspiracy wasn’t originally started over torture; it started with the formation of the National Security Council under NSPD-1 on 13-FEB-2001 and the Energy Task Force, before 9/11, affording the parties a structure under which they could work. The conspiracy to torture essentially culminated by 07-FEB-2002 with Bush’s Memorandum to Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, COS to POTUS, DCI, Asst. to POTUS for Natl Security Affairs, JCOS-Chair, electing not to recognize the GC universally. Everything after that document was merely coverup, and the torture itself a coverup for whatever they were really trying to do to launch the Iraq War.

              • Mary says:

                You aren’t paying attention to what I am and am not saying, Rayne.

                I have never said that the lawyers aren’t conspirators. As a matter of fact, I think I have one of the most strident records on saying to the contrary and rasing holy hell over it, even over the “heroes” who got lots of slack from people really wanting there to be a hero.

                WHAT I have said is that you are characterizing what Rumsfeld is doing – pointing to the lawyers as generating the legal parameters as his own excuse – as being Rumsfeld throwing the lawyers under the bus. That is what I have disagreed with you about. That characterization by you of what Rumsfeld is doing, not whether or not the lawyers engaged in conspiracies to torture, is what I said wasn’t correct.

                What he is doing isn’t tossing someone under the bus – he has no expectation or intent that the lawyers (here mostly Haynes) will have a bus run over them (i.e., suffer adverse consequences) from what he is doing so he isn’t tossing them under the bus. Instead, he is implementing tactic that was built into their strategy and one that all the conspirators knew would be utilized. Hell, I’m not even saying it would ever be – with a non-corrupt prosecutor, a successful tactic.

                I’ve laid out in a lot of long comments at various times why that tactic doesn’t buy anyone out of their war crimes.

                I’ve also commented on the original set up on that Exxon and present incarnations of the Seven Sisters were hoping for vis a vis participation agreements (and I linked recently to how that is working for them, with the Iraqis going to technical services contracts and the outcome of the auctions)

                So I don’t know what you mean by we will never agree on, “whether this was “pong” or hot potato as the conspiracy.” The pong effect isn’t the conspiracy, it’s a tactic that conspirators use. It’s like defense counsel liking to break up the trials on co-defendants, so that in each case one can point to the other as being the “actual” bad guy. The fact that it is a tactic and should be recognized as a tactic isn’t the same as saying neither defendant is guilty. It’s that you have to realize the tactic and then realize whether you have A giving real incriminating testimony against B (throwing him under the bus) or A using an established tactic of pointing the finger elsewhere without really anteing up the goods to seal the deal, all the while knowing that B will do the same, as a part of an overall strategy to both walk.

                I think you just need to recognize that or you make the mistake of assuming that there is more conflict between Rumsfeld and Haynes than necessarily exists.

                • Rayne says:

                  There doesn’t have to be a conflict between Rummy and Haynes, just as there didn’t have to be a conflict between the White House and Gonzo, or Veep and Libby.

                  The understanding – which required little conspiracy – was that the minions would stick their necks in the grinder willingly, and the entire apparatus would be assured the protections offered by the machinations of a political organization which would in turn assure a permanent majority. The only time they ever regret this process is when somebody muffs up their obligations to the rest of the hive.

                  In this respect you may be correct that Rummy does not have appear to deliberately and forcefully soil his hands shoving Haynes under the wheels in an attempt to protect himself; perhaps a better analogy is the exercise of imperium or dominion. Haynes is supposed to be the firewall, period, there need be no question. One need only look at Rummy’s handling of the termination of OSI to see this on display:

                  “And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And ‘oh my goodness gracious isn’t that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.’ I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to salvage this thing fine I’ll give you the corpse. There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have. That was intended to be done by that office is being done by that office, NOT by that office in other ways.”

                  No regard for optics given in advance, or for any other inconveniences like legality here; this thing will be done, period.

                  Haynes is doing what needs to be done; there’s no introspection or review or revisiting necessary as far as Rummy is concerned, since [imperial] orders were given under at least (2) National Security Directives to “git ‘er done” with regard to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

                  In which case, Haynes is a doormat on which Rummy wipes his feet without a second thought rather than the bump under the tires of the bus. It all happened so fast because power rarely looks down at the doormat.

  14. fatster says:

    An “independent inquiry” in the UK will be conducted “into allegations that British soldiers mutilated and murdered civilians in Iraq–and the government has been forced to admit that key documents had not been disclosed.” Wonder how Rummy is reacting to that?

  15. tjbs says:

    Nuremburg 2.0 now
    This creep defended prolonged stress positions in a press conference along the lines of” I stand at a desk for 8 hours (ignoring the fact he wasn’t chained to the desk) what’s wrong with a detainee being made to sand,in a stress position, for four hours straight ? That statement acknowledges he knew people were being strung up, to the point of death in some cases , and did nothing to reign in a policy gone haywire, no matter what’s it origin.

    Put all these creeps in the Nuremburg dock and give them every opportunity to prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. The excuse i didn’t have enough time to do my job properly just won’t fly.

  16. whitewidow says:

    Speaking of war criminals, I saw Kissinger in attendance at the Wimbledon men’s final. It really galls me that he is in box seats, shown on TV like the celebrities and royalty, when he should be in jail. To the victor go the spoils, I guess.

    • BillE says:

      Kissinger et al are out because of OLC opinions written by the late SC head Renquist durring the Nixon admin. He was rewareded. This is probably why Bybee did what they told him.

  17. nahant says:

    Rummey for induction into Leavenworth…. Orange jump suite and all. His lame excuses are just that LAME! He should be brought to Justice for the war crimes he authorized… not just Torture!! But all the rest he put in motion including the illegal prosecution of the Iraq War!!

  18. Mary says:

    BTW – this whole issue of the lawyers is why I have been interested in walkign the cat back to find out what the involvement (according to Scheuer) was of Mary Jo White, who he told Mayer he consulted under the Clinton administration to get the extraordinary renditions program started.

    It is also why I found his testimony in that Delahunt hearing so interesting. Scheuer told Congrss that no one was ever taken by the CIA for rendition to either a foreign nation (like Egypt or Syria or Jordan) or to the CIA blacksites, without lawyers at the CIA, NSC, or both signing off first. He says that in EVERY INSTANCE the CIA provided something like a brief on each person and why they wanted to snatch and disappear them and in EVERY INSTANCE the lawyers with CIA and NSC made the ultimate decision on whether they could or could not make the grab/disappearance.

    That is an unexplored area. The briefs submitted to the CIA/NSC lawyers and their responses giving the final element of approval to disappearing someone. That’s a very potent issue.

    • Blub says:

      The “fog of war” is shooting somebody on your own side by accident in the chaos of a battle. This is more Cicero’s “In time of war the law falls silent” (Inter arma enim silent leges) – long the justification of Caesars, Dictators, butchers and tyrants.. and something categorically rejected as a defense against atrocity under international law.

      • WarOnWarOff says:

        Well yeah. Was riffing off of Errol Morris’s documentary re: McNamara (since he dayed now, Jim). And an old Simpson’s episode. Just can’t take this damned bloody country seriously anymore, and never will again.

  19. x174 says:

    mt–i would bet that if you dug into what is known and what isn’t yet known about Rumsfeld that you would hit a main vein in the federal government’s porno-klepto-thugocracy like nothing else.

    from my research, Rumsfeld comes up as one of the key mfs.

  20. Blub says:

    its nice to know that Rummy deems sticking somebody in a coffin-sized box with insects to be a process issue. ah, the banality of evil. Instead of “I was just following orders” its now “I just followed a process”????

  21. acquarius74 says:

    Way back when the CIA was authorized, it was to get funding from State, DOD and Treasury; to be under the authority of National Security Council and was to collect information, analyze it and present it to the NSC. Any action undertaken by CIA was to be at the direction of NSC; and was to have 2 requirements (in event things went South): (1) be plausibly deniable and (2) have a scapegoat.

    Rummy and friends are all trying for both.

    They knew what was ahead way before 9/11. That’s why they wouldn’t sign the Rome Conventions and opted out of the International Criminal Court. (IMO).

  22. Skilly says:

    From Rummy’s first day, Everyone at the Pentagon knew he was gearing up for war in with Iraq. I know a civil contractor who worked “near Rummy” and he was thrilled when He was able to retire with full benefits before 9/11. He told me within month’s of Rummy’s arrival that Rumsfield was going to find a way to attack Iraq. Before any of you conspiracy types start up, this is not one of those kinds of stories.
    This is about the manner in which Rumsfield set up a system of “process review” and intelligence gathering that assured set priority results. The irony of this argument by the biographer was the rummy was a control freak who absolutely set his own agenda and “Process.” To now have the biographer float this trial argument that the process was bad, is laughable to anyone who knew how Rummy ran the place.

    • Mary says:

      All the anthrax stuff in the article is interesting. I don’t know how reliable it is, but I never realized that there were any allegations about Kelly being involved in anthrax programs with South Africa

      • fatster says:

        Surely there will be more info (in support or denial) of that coming out in the next few days, Mary. I’ll be on the look-out anyway.

    • acquarius74 says:

      Thanks for that link, fatster. Doesn’t bother CIA to kill their own; remember Frank Olsen and Operation Artichoke? FO “suicided” in 1955. He was ground floor anthrax under the old OSS, then Central Intel Group, then CIA at Fort Detrick – microbiologist specialty = anthrax. His superiors, including then CIA’s head medical doctor, slipped him big dose of LSD. He apparently “talked” so they had no alternative but to out him permanently.

      Anybody who gets mixed up with them has to be a danger thrills junkie.
      Uh, that’s my opinion…

  23. Dismayed says:

    Call this a hairline fracture if you like, but it seems to me that the cabal is starting to feel the heat and with a bit more pressure perhaps the dam will break.

    Cheney, Rummy, Haynes, Yo – They are all guilty as hell. Rummy had intent, Cheney had intent. The lawyers knew the intent. Haynes facilitated a circus around the intent.

    I don’t believe for one minute that their unity won’t fracture under the pressure of any credible crimminal probe. The lawyers might be laying under the bus, but they’ll yelp as the front tire goes over them.

    I just hate that it’s taking so long in the face of such unmistakable evidence.

    However, I have recently come up with an idea of why Obama continues to hold back the bus –

    Obama has a legislative adgenda — What better thing to hold over the R’s head than letting the lid blow off torture. So desperate is their desire to keep their precious Bush Cabal out of jail that they’ll trade ANYTHING to keep real prosecution from happening. Hell, many R Senators are likely co-conspirators.

    “Okay boys, we’ll make it look good but you’re giving me healthcare, or I’ll call the AG and the whole damn lot of you can sit in jail with Cheney.”

    With a hammer like this O has no excuse for failures with legislation. I can sit through the shoe, but if he doesn’t deliver by the curtain something is seriously wrong.

    • Hmmm says:

      I have a hunch that Obama may be setting things up for getting a hell of a lot done in the 2nd half of his 1st term, after the midterm congressional D gains are cemented, i.e. by not running for a second term and instead using that time to actually do things, maybe really unpopular-in-Washington things. Including but not limited to cleaning the USG of the Bush damage generally, and pursuing accountability to reduce the likelihood of anything like it recurring any time soon. That could be true greatness, if done well.

      I also have about half a hunch that Sarah’s little hissy is a faint pale echo of a mockery of a sham of the same idea, just botched like hell. Or maybe just a spotlight-stealer. As per her inimitable norm.

  24. MarkH says:

    I don’t like the idea of even hinting at blackmailing Senate Repubs. I think that’s low and disgusting.

    If there is a solid case, then it should simply be developed and brought to the Court.

    We have enough trouble making Congress work without the confusion of ‘the past’ and the present being thrown in together. In fact, one of the biggest problems we have is where the awful past insinuates itself into our present and we have trouble disentangling ourselves from it.

    Of course, for someone like the president it is very appealing to think a lot of that can be pushed aside, so the present can be dealt with more easily. Recent events have not been so simple and it really isn’t appropriate (IMO) to do that. We need to understand the past better and clarify that in people’s minds, so American can release from that and move forward with a sound foundation. A murky understanding of one’s past can lead to no good. Same for a nation. That’s one reason I hate to hear anyone dredge up Vietnam wrt Bush & Co or AfPak. It may be relevant in some ways, but mostly it just makes people feel bad.

    The Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove, Bush, (even) Paulson and Kerry bunch all dredge up Nixon and all that. It’s unfortunate they were ever able to still be around in government. Makes me wonder what Biden’s role was back when he first got into the Senate. It’s mostly all bad — a bad time in American history.

    One of the big problems today is how to sequence the things we need to do. It’s difficult to say we MUST go back and deal with the past before the financial crisis or Al Qaeda or health insurance reform. But, the longer one puts it off the longer the confusion persists. It’s a real problem.