Friday, November 21, 2008

Cabinet and war-crimes-trials watch

According to what seem to be the most authoritative leaks, it's Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary.

And Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

I'm very happy with the Cabinet picks so far. Geithner is a professional Treasury guy and is currently the head of the New York Federal Reserve. He's not a Wall Street buccaneer taking time off to loosen the rules against predatory banking practices.

And Clinton will make an excellent foreign minister. As I said before, she's smart and knowledgeable about foreign policy, she's tough and she fights when she has to.

Get ready for the show from our Establishment press, though. They will be rending their clothes and gnashing their teeth (Biblically speaking) over Vile Hillary being in the Cabinet. And poor Maureen Dowd is a goner. I'll predict on the conservative side and say that it will take two full months for her to disintegrate to the point of babbling incoherence.

Speaking of which, Attorney General Michael Mukasey was speaking to the rightwing Federalist Society last night, defending torture and arguing that none of those fine folks in the Cheney-Bush administration should be prosecuted for their crimes. He then started coughing, his voice got slurry and God struck him down he collapsed. According to the official story, he's medically fine. But without getting all theological, I can't help but wonder if he collapsed under the stress he's feeling over that particular topic.

The pro-crime Republicans are saying, as Mukasey was last night before divine retribution struck his fainting episode, that prosecuting criminal acts by officials of this administration would be criminalizing politics.

And the pro-torture Republicans also argue that the poor innocent torturers who were just following orders when they beat people to death, forced their victims to stand in stress positions for hours smeared with their own excrement and various other perverse, sicko practices shouldn't be prosecuted, either. And that to do so would make future potential torturers uncertain about whether the government would back them up when they commit disgusting sadistic cruelty on prisoners while their superiors tell them that the Republican mob lawyers highest administration legal authorities tell them it's legal.

I think that's exactly the reason the perps in the torture ring should be prosecuted from top to bottom. Before they follow an order to hold a naked prisoner on the ground and jam foreign objects up his anus, they should worry, and worry a lot, that even though they're being told they have permission, that there's a very good chance they will wind up being prosecuted for their disgusting sadistic acts anyway. That's exactly why the torture perps at all levels should be prosecuted and sent to prison.

Sadly, all the specific acts of torture to which I referred here have been committed as part of the torture program. There are even photos in the public record of many of the acts of torture. And it's very likely we haven't heard the worst yet.

There is also a broader reason to prosecute the torturers, the same reason that Harry Truman said he insisted on fair war crimes trials at Nuremberg. The evidence needs to be laid out publicly and thoroughly documented so that no one will ever be able to say that it didn't happen, or that it was minor thing, or a rogue operation, or just something made up by the dirty [Cheney]ing hippies to be a slur on our brave men and women in uniform.

That won't stop some people from claiming it of course. But the Bush Torture Deniers of future years will have a hard time winning much credibility if the evidence is laid out fairly in legally conducted trials.

It's important also for that reason that the torturers be tried with all their legal rights and without the physical and mental coercion they inflicted on others.

And all the regular citizens who supported these awful things under euphemisms like "enhanced interrogation" need to have what they were supporting held in front of them as what it really is. Not that they have the excuse of not knowing, based on what's in the public record today. But to have it held up and condemned officially would drive home the point in a way that news reports on the torture haven't.

Because, as one of our leading contemporary authorities on the subject said back in 2005, "Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine."

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