Monday, June 07, 2004

Sure, blame the lawyer . . . .

It is usually their fault . . . .

Actually, I shouldn't be flip here - this is a fascinating story out of Berkeley. A law professor at Boalt Hall wrote a memo during his Justice Department days explaining why the Gitmo detainees weren't subject to the Geneva Convention. From that, many are calling on him to resign saying his actions induced the prisoner abuse in Iraq. It's kind of a long chain of causation, but it gives us yet another in a long line of moral responsibility exercises that come from the Bush Administration.

I'm not sure where I come down on this. First off, it's always fun when the Berkeley kids get mad at someone for saying something. Next, I think law school may have finally gotten to me a little because my immediate thought was "So what if he wrote it, it was probably just an assignment and he applied law to facts as he saw them to come up with either the desireable or the accurate result."


But still. There's lots of buck-passing in the world. Why not blame the DOJ head? Whoever assigned it? Approved it? Who followed it? Why wasn't there a counter memo prepared? And what about the people who took some kind of blank check authority for abuse from the memo? Who really set things in motion? Where's the vital link - which needed to be cut?

Discuss amongst yourselves. To my law school/lawyer readers, I'd love your thoughts from a professional responsibility point of view. You learn your first year in law school that the law is about everything but the truth - or at least - everything but objective truth. So where is this in the grand scheme of things?

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