Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's about time!

Washington Post editorial writer Eugene Robinson, in an April 10 op-ed piece:
I have believed all along that we urgently need to conduct a thorough investigation into the Bush administration's moral and legal transgressions. Now I am convinced that some kind of "truth commission" process isn't enough. Torture -- even the torture of evil men -- is a crime. It deserves not just to be known, but to be punished.
This comes as the evidence that the Cheney/Bush administration and their assorted minions orchestrated the use of torture on detainees at what most likely was a US base in Afghanistan grows into a steaming pile of crapulence. The strongest evidence is contained in a just-released report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that details the experiences in US custody of 14 detainees who were interviewed for the report. Although interviewed separately, the detainees' accounts of their treatment are consistent with each other and also with what is already known about some of the "techniques" used, such as water-boarding.

Meanwhile, Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge who indicted former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet, is mulling over indictments against a number of Cheney/Bush officials who are implicated in the US torture regime: Alberto Gonzales, John C. Yoo, Douglas J. Feith, William J. Hayes II, Jay S. Bybee and David S. Addington. Garzon's ability to do this is assured by something called universal jurisdiction, under which a country can indict, subpoena, and prosecute foreign nationals who are deemed to have committed certain egregious acts, such as genocide and other crimes against humanity. Garzon was supposed to have decided whether to issue the indictments by now, but I haven't heard anything new as of this post. Examples of the use of universal jurisdiction include the indictment of Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes and crimes against humanity while he was in France, and the US trial of the son of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor for crimes, including torture, committed in Liberia.

Some of us have been calling for an accounting of the Bush II presidency pretty much since the day he was installed in the White House by the Supreme Court after stealing the 2000 election (and of course he may well have stolen the 2004 one also). As bad as that was, few of us could have imagined the dark road down which Cheney/Bush and their handlers would take us. The road was so bad, and so dark, that we became, more than ever before (and we've never really been saintly), a Rogue State.

Is a society worth saving if it is willing to torture to keep itself safe?

It's about time we find out.

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