We are the 99%

April 21, 2009

Torture Update

From the NYTimes:
Pressure mounted on President Obama on Monday for more thorough investigation into harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects under the Bush administration, even as he tried to reassure the Central Intelligence Agency that it would not be blamed for following legal advice.
The pressure?
...human rights activists, Congressional Democrats and international officials pressed for a fuller accounting of what happened. Senator Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, wrote Mr. Obama asking him not to rule out prosecutions until her panel completed an investigation over the next six to eight months.
And:
The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to release its own report after two years of looking at the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods. And the Democratic chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees are pushing for a commission to look into the matter. At the same time, the administration faces pressure from abroad. Manfred Nowak, the United Nations’ chief official on torture, told an Austrian newspaper that as a party to the international Convention against Torture, the United States was required to investigate credible accusations of torture.
Then there's:
Others pushing for more investigation included Philip D. Zelikow, the former State Department counselor in the Bush administration. On his blog for Foreign Policy magazine and in an interview, Mr. Zelikow said it was not up to a president to rule out an inquiry into possible criminal activity. “If a Republican president tried to do this, people would be apoplectic,” he said.

Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., who was chief counsel to the Church Committee, the Senate panel that investigated C.I.A. abuses in the 1970s, said Mr. Obama was “courageous” to rule out prosecutions for those who followed legal advice. But he said “it’s absolutely necessary” to investigate further, “not for the purpose of setting blame but to understand how it happened.”
Here's something else from Zelikow:
I am not eager to see any government officials prosecuted for crimes because of their zeal to protect their country. But crimes committed for worthy motives are still crimes, and we have institutions to sort this out.

So has anyone beside me found it troubling that President Obama is making announcements on who should be prosecuted for possible crimes? Whatever one's view of the matter, didn't the administration ardently announce its dedication to depoliticizing the Department of Justice? So why is it proper for the president to tell Attorney General Eric Holder what he should conclude?
He then posits 5 possibilities:
  1. No unlawful conduct
  2. Unlawful conduct but with a credible defense
  3. Unlawful conduct with an inadequate defense
  4. Unlawful conduct, no defense, but Obama pardons
  5. No pardon, but Obama tells AG Holder what legal options he has.
His conclusion:
Can you imagine what folks would say if a Republican president exercised option #5? I wish President Obama would just play this straight. He also does no favor to suspects if he politicizes the question of their innocence.
Investigate. Prosecute. Do it publicly and fairly. It's the American way. It's also the law.

6 comments:

Sherry said...

maybe they will investigate anyway. they have the power legally. i pray they do.

i'm not saying whose guilty or not. not for me to say yet because there has been no investigation.

but we are no better that any country we have sanctioned ever, if we do not investigate.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

I'll put you down for the 'comfy chair' option then. OK?

Let's face it. I had a STRONG feeling that the average Joe 6-pack couldn't give a rats-patooey of how or what we do to the ragheads that are hell-bent on killing Americans. We've been safe from 9/11 to now, although BHO appears to want to change that. It's only the pointy-head academic types and peaceniks that 'care'. Oh, and the MSM 'cuz it makes their reporters have a 'tingle'... sensationlism.

Finally, we haven't heard the other side - What attacks were thwarted due to use of certain techniques? Techniques our very own military personnel experience as part of training, btw. Hmmmmm? We may never know.. and that's probably a good thing.. don't let the Muzzies know we know. Round 'em up and herd 'em in to Gitmo.

Ol' Froth said...

We've been safe since 9/11? Why am I the only one who seems to remember the anthrax attacks?

Meanwhile, I heard a rumour that Conservative Mountaineer might or might not have some connection to ammonium nitrate. Better waterboard him and find out what he knows about that, in the interest of national security, of course. Can't be too careful you know!

Sherry said...

cm, i'm going to explain myself here. 1st. i am not anti-death penalty. so, i'm all for giving these 2 guys that sentence.
but, i believe in the law and the law says that toture is a CRIME.

we have convicted others for that very same thing.

even mccain stated that torture doesn't work. that people being tortured will confess to just about anything(and have)

tell me, if you were waterboarded on an avverage of 6 times a day for a month what would YOU confess to and WHEN, the 5th, the 25, the 75th time?

we are a better nation than that. we are supposed to be.

as to CHENEY stating that we gained valuable info that kept us safe. well, just consider the source and the fact that he knows he is open to criminal charges.

think about what froth wrote. if torture and "disappearing" people as was done in some south american countries, becomes the norm here, anyone could turn YOU in simply because you pissed them off.

not a good thing.

Ol' Froth said...

It also is reasonable to believe that if actual evidence of a plot was revealed, the previous administration would have be trumpeting from the ramparts, especially in the run up to the 2004 and 2006 electios.

Infinonymous said...

What is it with conservatives and premature celebration? As the Obama administration methodically releases the information -- don't forget the prisoners beaten to death (one was iced down in an effort to smuggle the body out of the prison), the kidnappings and later abandonment of innocents on foreign soil, the videotapes that survived -- the crescendo of outrate may strengthen. Plus, keeping some of the information for later likely sets up the likes of Cheney to make even more statements that will be disproved by evidence.

So far, Cheney's story is that egregious attacks were prevented by torture-generated information -- but he can't remember a single one. Not even enough to give us a hint. So he "formally asked" the CIA to give him the documents. Except the CIA says it received no request.

Politically, this isn't bad, either. The Republicans become fixated on bashing gays (which alienates most young people), pushing machine guns (which alienates most people), and boasting about torture (which will become an anchor around the GOP's neck when all of the evidence is revealed).

Toomey may beat Specter, depriving Republicans of their only chance to win the Senate seat (and probably helping a Democrat win the gubernatorial race). Then Obama waxes Palin or Jindal or another sacrificial lamb from the GOP's JV. Meanwhile, the economy improves, the Republican Party turns into one big snake-handling revival meeting, and the big question will be whether the Democratic Party would be better off with a functioning opposition.

By the way, some of the money saved by closing Guantanamo should be used to improve West Virginia's schools. I know West Virginia is already a huge federal welfare queen, but uneducated goobers are a long-term drag, too.