Unlike a young child learning a new card game, there are no “do overs” when it comes to the moral decisions we make as a society. Once society has taken the step of condoning an immoral act the stain is there forever.
One of the signs I saw held by one of the regulars during numerous anti-war vigils stated “your silence means consent”. The original Latin saying, qui tacet consentire videtur, is attributed to Sir Thomas More.
Some are not remaining silent:
The Peninsula Gateway
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – DEC. 26, 2007
Published: 12:47PM December 26th, 2007
Despite cover-up attempts, secrets explain U.S. torture
It was with sadness that I signed my name this grey morning to a letter resigning my commission in the U.S. Navy…
…The final straw for me was listening to General Hartmann, the highest-ranking military lawyer in charge of the military commissions, testify that he refused to say that waterboarding captured U.S. soldiers by Iranian operatives would be torture.
His testimony had just sold all the soldiers and sailors at risk of capture and subsequent torture down the river. Indeed, he would not rule out waterboarding as torture when done by the United States and indeed felt evidence obtained by such methods could be used in future trials.
Thank you, General Hartmann, for finally admitting the United States is now part of a long tradition of torturers going back to the Inquisition….
…Andrew Williams, Gig Harbor
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
226 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Statement of Brigadier General Thomas W. Hartmann
Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority for the Office of Military Commissions
Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member Kyl, thank you for inviting me to participate in this morning’s hearing. I am the Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority for the Military Commissions. In this role, I am responsible for providing legal advice to the Convening Authority, an independent quasi-judicial figure who administers the Office of Military Commissions. I also supervise the Chief Prosecutor’s Office…
And what did General Hartmann say, when asked a certain question?
GRAHAM: You mean you’re not equipped to give a legal opinion as to whether or not Iranian military waterboarding, secret security agents waterboarding downed airmen is a violation of the Geneva Convention?
HARTMANN: I am not prepared to answer that question, Senator.
Someone else also decided that he could not remain silent:
Los Angeles Times
AWOL military justice
Why the former chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions resigned his post.
By Morris D. Davis
December 10, 2007
I was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until Oct. 4, the day I concluded that full, fair and open trials were not possible under the current system. I resigned on that day because I felt that the system had become deeply politicized and that I could no longer do my job effectively or responsibly…
…I had instructed the prosecutors in September 2005 that we would not offer any evidence derived by waterboarding, one of the aggressive interrogation techniques the administration has sanctioned….
They know. They know the “Nüremberg Principles”:
The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him….
qui tacet consentire videtur