President Obama spoke the truth today.He said that “waterboarding was torture” & that he believes “the Bush administration sanctioned torture.”
Guess what,Mr. President? So do I!Even though the president & I agree on what torture is,we don’t share the same opinion about what should be done about it!
It’s too bad that the Bush administration will get away with running this country as if it were a dictatorship. Instead of a democracy. Here’s two opposing views on whether the U.S. should prosecute Bush officials for torture from ajc.com:
“Yes: The standards we hold others to also apply to us.
By Mark J. McKeon
On Sept. 11, 2001, when the twin towers were hit, I was sitting in a meeting in The Hague discussing what should be included in an indictment against Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes in Bosnia. I was an American lawyer serving as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and there was no doubt that Milosevic should be indicted for his responsibility for the torture and cruel treatment of prisoners. As the head of state at the time those crimes were committed, Milosevic bore ultimate responsibility for what happened under his watch…”(End of First Excerpt)
“No: Terrorists declared open-ended war against America.
By Thomas Sowell
It used to be said that self-preservation is the first law of nature. But much of what has been happening in recent times in the United States, and in Western civilization in general, suggests that survival is taking a back seat to the shibboleths of political correctness.
We have already turned loose dozens of captured terrorists, who have resumed their terrorism. Why? Because they have been given “rights” that exist neither in our laws nor under international law.
These are not criminals in our society, entitled to the protection of the U.S. Constitution. They are not prisoners of war entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.
There was a time when people who violated the rules of war were not entitled to turn around and claim the protection of those rules. German soldiers who put on U.S. military uniforms, in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge, were simply lined up against a wall and shot.”(End of second excerpt) Read the full opinions here.
And here’s more on what the Bush memos reveal from an article written by a former State Department lawyer & taken from the L.A Times:
have my own reasons to own up to a bit of schadenfreude at the release of these memos. In the year following 9/11, I handled Geneva Convention issues for the State Department; I was a principal drafter of memos arguing that the international law of war applied in Afghanistan and thus to the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. The same OLC, White House and Pentagon lawyers we sparred with early in 2002 went on to write, solicit or approve the torture memos later that year. They excluded experienced lawyers from the State Department and elsewhere from the process of interpreting U.S. obligations under Geneva and the United Nations Convention Against Torture, among other treaties.
We saw the coming train wreck and advised the administration of the harsh political, legal and security consequences of failing to abide by U.S. and international law. Early in January 2002, my boss at the State Department, William H. Taft IV, advised the OLC’s John Yoo that “only the utmost confidence in our legal arguments could, it seems to me, justify deviating from the United States’ unbroken record of compliance with the Geneva Convention in our conduct of military operations over the past 50 years.” Taft was right, Yoo was wrong, and now we see the consequences.
That said, as much as the OLC memos demonstrate professional misconduct, bad lawyering and possible culpability in the torture regime that followed, I fear that they obscure from public view this basic reality: The most senior policymakers in the Bush administration decided to employ torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against terrorism detainees.
We know this from the dozens of memos, reports and journalistic accounts in the five years since the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. The bipartisan report on military interrogation from the Senate Armed Services Committee (pdf) and the timeline on the CIA’s program from the Senate Intelligence Committee (pdf), both released this month, make senior-level responsibility crystal clear.
Thus, as clarifying as the OLC memos are, there’s much we still don’t know, including the point at which President Bush and his staff explicitly ordered or approved the interrogation program. And despite recent suggestions from Dick Cheney that the program “worked,” we don’t know what benchmarks, if any, the administration set for itself to judge the effectiveness of torture and cruel treatment.
The aforementioned Senate report concluded that the Bush interrogation program of torture and cruel treatment “damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.” If this is true, we must uncover the entirety of the interrogation programs to ensure that they do no recur.
The Obama administration did the right thing in releasing the OLC memos, for even if those responsible are not held to account (a subject we’ll take up later in the week), subjecting the Bush policies to the full light of day is crucial to repairing the damage they’ve already done.”(End of Excerpt) Read the full article here.
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