Monday, February 01, 2010

Impunity for torture apologists

So the Obama Justice Department, acting just like the last guys, is about to issue a report finding that the intellectual authors of national disgrace, the political lawyers who cooked up a half-assed rationale for torture, didn't do anything really wrong. They meant well, so the crimes committed following their logic don't count. This reminds me of students who figure they deserve an A for effort, even if they didn't learn anything.

I find it hard to think of anything new to say about this. I'll leave commentary to Adam Serwer:

There's a consistent theme here that is both bipartisan and supported by elite opinion-makers in the press: The powerful should never be held accountable for their lawbreaking. Whether it was the Bush administration's lawyers ensuring that their colleagues would be protected not just from legal accountability but from professional sanction, or the Obama administration's "looking forward," we now have an unassailable culture of impunity for government lawbreaking in the name of "national security" -- whether such lawbreaking furthers national security interests or not. The rationale here is dangerous, supported by the notion that the powerful should be immune to sanction for abuses of power because of the responsibilities they shoulder. The opposite is true: It is precisely because they are so powerful that accountability is essential.

Now, the Obama administration is struggling to defend itself against right-wing demands that detainees in their custody be tortured. And why not? Whatever their anti-torture rhetoric, the administration's actions have given the public the impression that no laws were broken, and no one did anything wrong or deserved of punishment.

My emphasis.

When one extreme administration embraced torture as national policy, it could be thought of as a panicky aberration. When a succeeding administration, supposedly representing "change," ratifies impunity from any sanction arising from crimes against individuals and international treaties, it settles the United States into a comfortable berth among the world's torture states, on a par with such charming places as Turkmenistan, Egypt and Burma. Lovely.

1 comment:

libhom said...

There are literally people who are sent to jail for shoplifting while the torturers go free.

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