In the memo, the White House lawyer focused on a little known 1996 law passed by Congress, known as the War Crimes Act, that banned any Americans from committing war crimesdefined in part as "grave breaches" of the Genevva Conventions.
Noting that the law applies to "U.S. officials" and that punishments for violators "include the death penalty," Gonzales told Bush that "it was difficult to predict with confidence" how Justice Department prosecutors might apply the law in the future. This was especially the case given that some of the language in the Geneva Conventionssuch as that outlawing "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhumaan treatment" of prisonerswas "undefined."
One key advantage of declaring that Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters did not have Geneva Convention protections is that it "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act," Gonzales wrote.
"It is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441 [the War Crimes Act]," Gonzales wrote.
Well, there you go. Just announce the Geneva Conventions don't apply, and you're good to go. To hell, I mean. Isn't that where God sends evildoers?