Saturday, July 26, 2008

Douglas Feith Naked

From the July 25, 2008 transcript of Bill Moyers Journal:

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Do you believe that interrogation techniques, to which you recommended Secretary Rumsfeld, give blanket approval - stress positions, isolations, nudity, the use of dogs, the use of twenty-hour interrogations, hooding, removal of clothing, the use of detainee individual phobias, such as fear of dogs to induce stress - wouldn't that be the normal definition of anyone's concept of torture? Hasn't it always been?

DOUGLAS FEITH: I don't believe so. But especially not-

REP. JERROLD NADLER: I'm sorry. Let me rephrase that. It shouldn't be torture. Are those humane treatments that we should apply?

DOUGLAS FEITH: Okay, this - the way one could - I imagine one could apply those things in an inhumane fashion or one could apply them in a humane fashion. The general-

REP. JERROLD NADLER: How could you force someone to be naked and-

DOUGLAS FEITH: It doesn't say naked.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: And undertake 20-hour interrogations-

DOUGLAS FEITH: It doesn't say naked.

REP. JERROLD NADLER: Removal of clothing. Removal of clothing doesn't mean naked?

DOUGLAS FEITH: Removal of clothing is different from naked.


DOUGLAS FEITH: It's about removing of comfort items and of clothing that would make - the idea was to induce stress, they talked about. But one could induce - in our police stations around America every day, American citizens are subjected to stress as part of interrogations. It could be done in an inhumane way; it could be done in a humane way. The general guidance-
What the hell is this all about? Why is Feith arguing about “Removal of clothing is different from naked” when nudity was one of the interrogation techniques mentioned? (Right before “use of dogs.”) And why didn’t Jerrold Nadler simply mention that one of the interrogation techniques listed in his question was nudity, as well as removal of clothing? Then the only thing Feith could argue was that nude is different from naked.

Here is more from the same transcript:
REP. MEL WATT: I'm not arguing with you, Professor Feith. I'm just trying to get clarification of whether you were saying that there is no upward responsibility for decisions that get made. I presume the buck stops with the Commander in Chief. Is that correct?

DOUGLAS FEITH: No, the buck stops with the President. I mean, that's what Harry Truman said.

REP. MEL WATT: Okay, that wasn't a trick question. I'm just trying to get clarification on what it was you were saying.
First of all, I thought the President is the Commander in Chief. Also, I don’t believe that Harry Truman ever specifically said that the buck stops with the President, either. He did have a little sign on his desk, however.

Sometimes little details say a lot about a person. In both these examples Mr. Feith lives up to his reputation of not being very smart.

Unfortunately, both Jerrold Nadler and Mel Watt don’t come off looking very bright either.

If Feith wants to nitpick about the facts, the least he could do is get the facts right before he opens his mouth.

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