The Best Defense

Waterboarding update: President Bush fought the law, and the law... lost?

In February 1968, a U.S. soldier was court-martialed simply for holding down a Vietnamese man while two Vietnamese soldiers waterboarded him, according to Guenter Lewy's America in Vietnam. (329)

I mention this because both George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney now have publicly admitted they were approving of waterboarding, a form of torture that once was a crime in the eyes of the U.S. government -- and still is under international laws.

The Washington Post reports that in his new memoir, My Pointy Head, President Bush's response to a request to waterboard 9/11 big nut Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was, "Damn right." (Meanwhile, Cheney stated earlier this year that, "I was a big supporter of waterboarding.")

The Post quotes Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch: "Waterboarding is broadly seen by legal experts around the world as torture, and it is universally prosecutable as a crime. The fact that none of us expect any serious consequences from this admission is what is most interesting."

That said, it will be interesting to watch whether either of these guys, or their campaign-contributor ambassadors, ever travel in Europe. I suspect that one day we could see a lower-ranking type detained for questioning upon de-planing in EU territory.

The Best Defense

Dueling historians: Lt. Col. Bob Bateman's takedown of Victor Davis Hanson

I could never quite figure out what irked me so much about Victor Davis "Carnage 'n' Culture'' Hanson's work until I read John A. Lynn. I liked what I read by Hanson about ancient Greece, but as Lynn shows, the further Hanson wandered from ancient Greece, the less he seemed like a historian and the more he came off like a polemicist with an agenda. Lt. Col. Bob Bateman, who is both an active-duty officer and an academic with terrific credentials in military history, delivered the coup de grace in a series of articles I hadn't seen until recently.