Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama, Prosecute the War Criminals

Obama’s decision not to prosecute the perpetrators of the torture that was carried out in secret military bases, torture that resulted in the death of at least 100 people is completely inexcusable. Article 2.2 of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, to which the U.S. became a State Party in 1998 under Ronald Reagan is quite clear:

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

The Bush administration and its legal enablers violated the treaty. Treaties which have been ratified by the United States Senate have the same force and effect as laws passed in the United States. Those responsible MUST be put on trial and, if found guilty, sent to prison. Yes it was a group of pretty despicable people who were subjected to this treatment, but that shouldn’t matter. Laws against torture and abuse of prisoners were not put in place to stop crimes against people we like, but to stop interrogators from misusing their power to harm people we despise. It is very strange to me, this idea that we should just “move on”. Why? As a letter writer to the Times astutely noted this morning, if some average Joe imprisoned somebody in his basement, chained them from the ceiling, kept them awake for 11 days straight, and waterboarded them 183 times resulting in their death you wouldn't question for a moment the need for prosecution. In fact, in most states, murder of this sort is a first degree offense and would subject the perpetrator to the death penalty. Yet Obama, in the name of God knows what, has decided that this is somehow an inappropriate path to tread down. Perhaps he doesn’t want to start taking whacks at the increased presidential power that Bush seized during his reign of terror for fear that his own power would be truncated. Who knows?

Nevertheless, Presidents are not above the law and history will not treat us kindly if we choose to look the other way at this monumental crime for the sake of political expediency.

1 comment:

Crackerass said...

Interestly, while not prosecuting the perps of US sponsored torture, the country seems willing to go after an attorney for doing his job well. Clive is the founder of the law office which I work for and he has done a great deal for the folks being held at Camp X-Ray.