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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Torture tactics

Hundreds of waterboarding cases not a success

Former Vice President Dick Cheney wants the American people to know about valuable intelligence produced by torture. According to recently declassified memos about harsh interrogation methods approved by Bush administration lawyers, one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times, and another 183 times [“Does torture work?” News, April 22].

If this is considered a success, Cheney, spare me details of your failures!

— Charles Cooper, Seattle

Torture necessary for ruthless killers

I do not believe the CIA interrogators should be prosecuted.

The Geneva Conventions rules should be changed. If we use a gentle format with these terrorists, they will walk all over us.

How can we forget what they did to us on 9/11? How come it is OK for terrorists to lop off our heads, but we can’t push them into a wall?

Torture is a necessity; we are dealing with ruthless killers who want us dead. There is nothing to be ashamed about.

— Paul Dale Roberts, Elk Grove, Calif.

Prosecute lawyers who conspire to torture

Contrary to the defenders of the Bush administration’s torture lawyers, under no circumstances do either the Model Code of Ethics or the Model Rules of Ethics (every American state incorporates one or the other) require an attorney to assist a client in the commission of a future crime [“3 lawyers scrutinized for memos on torture,” News, April 22].

This point is often misunderstood by non-lawyers, especially writers of television dramas and movies who need plot points more than accuracy.

A lawyer’s duty to the client includes zealous defense of past acts so that the government stays within the rules that we have set up.

However, it is completely unethical to knowingly assist in the commission of future crimes. This includes inventing justifications for crimes of violence, such as assault, battery, kidnapping, rape, torture and murder.

If a lawyer is asked to participate in a conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, in which the attorney’s work product will be used to urge underlings to carry out the violent act, then the lawyer’s work is an instrumentality of crime for the provision of which the lawyer can and must be prosecuted, just as can any other co-conspirator.

None of these are novel legal concepts; however, they arise in a new context when, as now, lawyers have been sufficiently evil to join a conspiracy to commit crimes of violence

— Randy Winn, Mercer Island

Comments | More in George W. Bush, Guantanamo Bay detention center

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