D. Des Chene (goclenius) wrote,
D. Des Chene

Speech acts & criminal acts

At Philosophical Fortnights: A look at one of the memos on torture presented to the White House.
Bush in a press conference after the G8 meeting: “[…] the authorization I issued, David, was that anything we did would conform to U.S. law and would be consistent with international treaty obligations. That's the message I gave our people.” As the press conference continues Bush twice avoids offering an opinion on the morality of torture. Instead he reiterates the claim that his subordinates were told to stay within the law.
No doubt the response was worked out in advance. One could take it to mean that the message to subordinates was: Here are the boundaries; stay within them. But the memo suggests that the message was instead something like: Here are all the avenues by which to escape any penalty for torture. The memo-writers did look at the law; that’s the point: they regarded it as a mere hindrance (or as no hindrance at all, since the memo attributes to the President an inherent power beyond all law).

  • The frozen coachman

    Catarina Dutilh Novaes’ item on literature and on what, thanks to her and to Helen de Cruz, I now know to call “moral…

  • Plucks, warbles, blinking lights

    (See Mohan Matthen, “ The sense of time passed”, at NewAPPS.) Is there a primitive feeling of duration? There are bodily feelings which…

  • Famed scientist makes historical error

    I know: “Dog Bites Man”. But I think it’s symptomatic. Source: Pierre D aguin, Traité élémentaire de physique ( 41879) 4:17 In The…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened