Last year Paul Mirengoff provided background on the attacks on Department of Defense general counsel and Fourth Circuit judicial nominee Jim Haynes in his Standard column “Unforgiven.” Paul has continued to follow the attacks on Haynes in several posts here. Yesterday Andrew Sullivan reiterated one particularly vicious version of these attacks in a Daily Dish post.
Sullivan is such a crude and hysterical polemicist on matters related to the Bush administration that he has become virtually unreadable. His tirades regarding the Bush administration’s responsibility for “torture” are a torture unto themselves. In his post yesterday on Jim Haynes, Sullivan referred to Haynes as a “war criminal,” instructing his readers: “War criminals cannot be judges.”
Sullivan seems to have difficulty with basic facts. Former deputy assistant attorney general and Boalt Hall Professor John Yoo was a key advisor on the legal issues with respect to which Sullivan wields his indictments (and convictions). Professor Yoo comments on Sullivan’s post:
According to the many investigations that have been conducted on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, there is no evidence that “Haynes was in the White House in November 2002” making decisions about interrogation policy. Haynes is the general counsel of the Defense Department, not the “general counsel for president Bush,” as Sullivan seems to think. If Sullivan cannot even get such basic and obvious facts right, he is likely to be wrong about most everything else he says.
One clear example to show the mistakes of Sullivan and the left’s torture narrative is the discussion of waterboarding. Haynes’s decisions were the exact opposite of Sullivan’s claim. It was uniformed military in Guantanamo Bay that requested enhanced interrogation methods to use against a single al Qaeda operative who was believed to have actionable intelligence. His name was Mohamed al Kahtani. He was captured fleeing Tora Bora in December 2001. He had been turned away when he tried to enter the United States at Orlando airport in August 2001; waiting in the airport at that same date and time was Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 attacks. Haynes did not approve waterboarding; in fact, he and other Defense Department advisors rejected it. When the Defense Department later assembled a broader working group to study interrogation standards, Haynes again as a matter of policy recommended against adoption of many more aggressive interrogation methods, including waterboarding.
Regarding Haynes’s pending Fourth Circuit judicial nomination, Sullivan writes: “You don’t reward such criminals; you ostracize them and keep them for ever from public office.” Does Sullivan himself believe the stuff he writes? “Ostracism” is a punishment that errs on the side of leniency for “war criminals.” Wouldn’t a sentence of reading the Daily Dish be more fitting?