During Bobby Jindal's (second) attempt at a response to Obama last night, he said this:
I have just learned that because of President Obama's opposition to torture, it is now illegal to show my speech to prisoners at Gitmo.
There's something disturbing about Republicans supporting torture, which is illegal, shielding those who enabled those crimes, suggesting the president is making the country less safe by not engaging in criminal behavior, and then making light of it after the fact, all while denying that the crimes actually took place. Part of the reason that the Obama administration is having such a hard time dealing with the hundreds of detainees at Gitmo is that the evidence against them was illegally acquired through torture, making convictions potentially impossible to get. The use of torture wasn't just a violation of domestic and international law, it has harmed our foreign-policy interests and put American troops at greater risk of receiving the same treatment if captured.
But the most disturbing thing about Jindal's joke and the laughter it provoked among some Beltway insiders is that it's a frank admission that the previous administration committed crimes in its treatment of terrorism suspects, an admission that couldn't possibly be made, and certainly not made into a joke, if the GOP weren't completely confident that no one will ever be held to account for those crimes. The joke simply makes a mockery of the rule of law.
No wonder his audience thought the joke was funny. We live in a country where all the executive branch needs to do to avoid legal consequences for committing a crime is to get an OLC lawyer to write a memo saying it's actually legal.
Get it? Ha. Ha.
-- A. Serwer