Since the day President Obama took office, he has failed to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects — an official government program conceived and carried out in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.And they describe a larger conspiracy to commit the war crimes:
As the report reveals, these claims fail for a simple reason: C.I.A. officials admitted at the time that what they intended to do was illegal.The Times gets most of it right. Here's where they fail:
In July 2002, C.I.A. lawyers told the Justice Department that the agency needed to use “more aggressive methods” of interrogation that would “otherwise be prohibited by the torture statute.” They asked the department to promise not to prosecute those who used these methods. When the department refused, they shopped around for the answer they wanted. They got it from the ideologically driven lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel, who wrote memos fabricating a legal foundation for the methods. Government officials now rely on the memos as proof that they sought and received legal clearance for their actions. But the report changes the game: We now know that this reliance was not made in good faith.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch are to give Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. a letter Monday calling for appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate what appears increasingly to be “a vast criminal conspiracy, under color of law, to commit torture and other serious crimes.”See that? Everyone gets probed except the one guy in charge - George W. Bush.
The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, and as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president.
And here's the reason why the torture needs to be investigated and prosecuted: To hold accountable those who committed the crimes and to stop them from happening again. I know President Obama stopped the practice for now, during his administration, but what's to stop some future President from simply following Dick Cheney's lead?
While a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the interrogation program shocked many with its vivid descriptions of one unresponsive prisoner frothing at the mouth after waterboarding and others shackled from bars in stress positions for prolonged periods, Cheney was unrepentant.That's why the torture needs to be investigated and prosecuted. Because it might happen again.
He repeatedly dismissed the Senate inquiry as “partisan” but seemed entirely comfortable with a public discussion of the once-secret techniques. Indeed, Cheney seemed proud of his role in creating the interrogation program.
“I’d do it again in a minute,” he declared.
Prosecute The Torture.