Tuesday, April 21, 2009

War crimes should be prosecuted

I keep seeing members of the Bush administration torture regime on tv or elsewhere asserting, shamelessly, that by revealing that the Bush administration created a torture regime in violation of domestic and international law and every principle of human decency that the United States is supposed to stand for, the nation's security has been weakened.

Look: torture is not a partisan policy dispute. This isn't a matter that needs to be settled on the he said/she said pundit "news" circuit on tv. It is a matter of justice, and the proper place for this matter to be addressed is in the courts.

The prosecution of war crimes is obligated under US law, and failure to do so will only serve to reinforce the "frame" being created right now on Fox News and AM radio and elsewhere that opposition to illegal torture is just partisan politics. Everytime Dick Cheney or Karl Rove or some other torture champion comes on tv and talks about how "legal" and useful these methods were at generating intelligence and how our enemies have been "helped" by knowing that we torture (or that we don't torture hard enough, Rove said) it is an affront to our justice system.

If we don't apply our laws to those who violate them, the laws may as well not exist. It hollows out our democracy and corrupts our conception of human rights. "Enhanced interrogation" becomes optional.

And that puts us in company that we should not want to keep.

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