[Marxism] Justice Dept memo:No international laws apply to US

Christopher Carrico ccarrico at temple.edu
Sat May 22 20:13:21 MDT 2004

Double Standards?

A Justice Department memo proposes that the United States 
hold others accountable for international laws on detainees—
but that Washington did not have to follow them itself

By Michael Isikoff
Investigative Correspondent
Updated: 1:42 p.m. ET May 22, 2004May 21 

In a crucial memo written four months after the September 
11, 2001, terror attacks, Justice Department lawyers advised 
that President George W. Bush and the U.S. military did not 
have to comply with any international laws in the handling 
of detainees in the war on terrorism. It was that 
conclusion, say some critics, that laid the groundwork for 
aggressive interrogation techniques that led to the abuses 
at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The draft memo, which drew sharp protest from the State 
Department, argued that the Geneva Conventions on the 
treatment of prisoners of war did not apply to any Taliban 
or Al Qaeda fighters being flown to the detention center at 
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, because Afghanistan was a “failed 
state” whose militia did not have any status under 
international treaties.

But the Jan. 9, 2002 memo, written by Justice lawyers John 
Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty, went far beyond that 
conclusion, explicitly arguing that no international laws—
including the normally observed laws of war—applied to the 
United States at all because they did not have any status 
under federal law.


At the same time, and even more striking, according to 
critics, the memo explicitly proposed a de facto double 
standard in the war on terror in which the United States 
would hold others accountable for international laws it said 
it was not itself obligated to follow.


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