Linda Monk is a Constitutional scholar and frequent guest on my show. She wrote a great op-ed in the Washington Post refuting a clueless column by David Broder. Linda Monk eloquently argues that David Broder has lost his senses and that torture is wrong for a number of reasons.This is a must read.
Not ‘Scapegoating,’ Simply Justice
It is dismaying that a man of David S. Broder’s wisdom and integrity would imply that a president is above the law [“Stop Scapegoating,” op-ed, April 26]. We did not accept that argument for Richard Nixon, and neither should we for George W. Bush or Barack Obama. The main job description of the president is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” He does not have the discretion to turn his back on massive violations of the law.
The Geneva Conventions prohibiting torture are, under the Constitution, “the supreme law of the land” and require signatories to prosecute those who commit torture. Ronald Reagan endorsed the U.N. convention against torture enthusiastically, and our highest military officers support those standards. Lawyers, too, take an oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States” in their government service as well as in their admission to the bar. If anyone should be accountable for upholding legal standards, it is the lawyers in the Justice Department who are sworn to enforce the law, not just for their boss the president but for the American people, whom they represent. Those torture memos were not mere intellectual debates by academics; they were legal opinions rendered by practicing lawyers who are subject to the standards of the profession. It is just as illegal to advise someone to commit an unlawful act as it is to commit one.
The real scapegoats in this ugly scenario are soldiers such as then-Pvt. Lynndie R. England, who went to prison in 2005 for her role in the Abu Ghraib scandal, although, according to her lawyer, she suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome resulting in a below-average IQ. Now it is clear that Abu Ghraib was the predictable result, as some military lawyers warned at the time, of loosening standards for torture at Guantanamo. So why shouldn’t lawyers suffer the same consequences as the soldiers they imperil?
LINDA R. MONK