Monday, December 06, 2010

Where the US is on the torture issue


Human rights attorney Scott Horton tells the sorry tale in Interrorgation Nation No Comment 11/15/2010:

Since Barack Obama became president, the debate over torture in America has taken a morally corrupt turn. Defenders of the old regime continue to defend the use of torture as essential to the nation's defense. Their claims are contradicted by the facts: torture was used to extract false confessions that fueled, among other things, the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses. The fact that America tortured is still a principal recruiting tool for radical Islamists. But Obama has kept silent in the face of all of this, not wishing to engage torture apologists in debate. More significantly, he has apparently encouraged his Justice Department to squelch any meaningful investigation of torture, in violation of the clear requirements of law. A policy that says "don't look back" means the triumph of torture: while we may not be captives of our past, we are the captives of our perception of the past. When one side offers an airbrushed version of the past and the other is silent, then, in the binary world of Washington, victory goes to the falsifiers. [my emphasis]
By not pursuing prosecutions of known torturers, the Obama Administration is breaking the law. For an issue so serious, a President should have to worry about being impeached. The Republicans will get the impeachment train rolling in the new Congress, but not on the torture issue. They support torture, even enthusiastically support it. And the Democrats for the most part are not going to oppose the Administration's passive position, even though it too is breaking the law. This truly is "morally corrupt".

The torture issue isn't going away. But it's going to do more damage to American democracy before it's adequately dealt with.

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