Clarity of hindsight: law vs. policy
Donald Rumsfield admitted that chucking the Geneva Conventions (and 50 years of military policy) came out of a bad process:
As he explained in an interview in late 2008, policies were developing so fast in the weeks after the September 11 attacks that he did not follow his own normal procedures. “All of a sudden, it was just all happening, and the general counsel’s office in the Pentagon had the lead,” he said. “It never registered in my mind in this particular instance–it did in almost every other case–that these issues ought to be in a policy development or management posture. Looking back at it now, I have a feeling that was a mistake. In retrospect, it would have been better to take all of those issues and put them in the hands of policy or management.”
They went the legal route (“the law isn’t clearly against us”) rather than the policy/management path (“how fully are we screwed if we do this?”). And, if that administration was as biblical as they claimed to be, they should have figured it out: even when following The Law, God is still a mean dude.