William J. Haynes is General Counsel for the Pentagon. A few years ago, Haynes wrote a memo to Rumsfeld recommending the use of dogs to intimidate detainees at Guantánamo. Seemingly undaunted by a Supreme Court rebuke and Congressional action on GITMO, the Bush Administration has nominated Haynes to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Maureen Dowd was right to skewer them and him in the New York Times today.
But the commentators we should be listening to are not columnists, but U.S. Senators. One is from this great state of Illinois, Dick Durbin. Durbin had this to say at the confirmation hearing:
“The Department of Defense’s own investigation concluded that this technique migrated from Guantánamo to Iraq and Abu Ghraib. At least two members of the armed forces have now been convicted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for using dogs to frighten detainees. It is striking that as these soldiers were prosecuted, you were being promoted. What message are we sending our troops? And what message are we sending the world, in light of your role in promulgating abusive interrogation techniques, like the use of dogs, stress positions and forced nudity. What message are we sending if we promote you to the second highest court in the land?”
And this: “Well, we’re going to dispatch a few privates, a few corporals, a sergeant, maybe it will get to a lieutenant, but it’ll never get upstairs. … Apparently, upstairs there’s a promotion party. Downstairs people are being sent to prison.”
The other Senator is Lindsey Graham from South Carolina. Proving once again, his ability to put principle above party, Senator Graham is giving Haynes hell for his conduct as the Defense Department’s lawyer.