Tuesday, August 18, 2015
If Jeb Bush's flirtation with torture upsets you, blame Barack Obama. The Prez is a very careful guy; he picks his fights. Sometimes that serves him and the rest of us well: Obamacare and the Iran nuke development moratorium are big wins.
But very obviously, from his first days in office, Obama discovered that restoring the rule of law in relation to a national security agenda would cost him big time. If the CIA's backing, filling, stalling and obstructing of Congressional oversight means anything, it means that the agency knew full well that John Yoo's phony-baloney torture memos wouldn't protect its agents. Torture is a crime under both U.S. and international law. So they've fought disclosure every step of the way. So have all the other spook agencies, even larger institutions than the CIA, operating out of the War (Defense) Department and other secret hideaways.
These agencies not only want to conceal what they did (do? -- how can we know if they are allowed to hide behind "security"?). They want to keep us focused on whether torture "worked." That's a non-question. Torture is a crime and crimes should be prosecuted. Period.
But Obama ducked that fight. He needed the spooks to try to prevent a terror attack that could undermine his tenure. So he caved. If Jeb were elected President, all he'd have to do is give a nod to the spooks -- Barack Obama's administration has made the laws in this area meaningless.
And having ducked the fight, Guantanamo remains still open. Obama's Justice Department recently has gone to court to prevent compassionate release of an inmate on hunger strike who is down to 75 pounds and has been cleared for over half a decade. The National Religious Coalition against Torture has a letter writing campaign. If we don't like being a torture state, we have to keep protesting these things.
Yes, Erudite Partner has just written a book about these issues. She expects a spring release.