Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama on prosecuting torturers

Greg Sargent (Obama: Bush Administration Authorized “Torture” Washington Post Gov blog 04/30/09) and even the highly skeptical Glenn Greenwald (Obama's pretty words on secrecy and torture last night Salon 04/30/09) agree that Obama's explicit comments on torture at his 04/29/09 press conference point to the legal necessity of prosecuting torture perpetrators.

I'm not sure I convinced anyone, but White House press spokesman Robert Gibbs on Meet the Press last Sunday was making comments that also, on the face it, pointed to that same conclusion.

I'm going to post something in a day or two about my general perspective on such things. But I really am surprised, and not exactly depressed but sobered, by how even normally sensible liberals like Naomi Wolf and Garrison Keiler are calling to let torturers off without prosecution (Wolf at least wants to prosecute the high-level perps) as though it were all simply a matter of political strategy. Of those two, I don't know which I find more disturbing: Keiler's airy dismissal of the law and the seriousness of the crime, or Wolf's bonkers reasoning from an untenable concept of collective guilt. Both are off the tracks in terms of recognizing what the rule of law is about.

Is it really so hard for leading liberal commentators - and here I'm not even counting alleged liberal celebrity pundits like Tom Friedman and Maureen "torture-is-a-big-laugh" Dowd - find it so hard to focus on the very basic matters of the laws against torture, our binding treaty obligations on torture, and the way in which torture goes to the very heart of the rule of law? It's really disturbing.

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