The New York Times says a special prosecutor should look at the role Bush and Cheney played in CIA torture program

I’m happy, of course, that the New York Times came out today advocating for the prosecution of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and those in their administration responsible for green-lighting the use of torture against those thought to have knowledge of terrorist activities directed at the United States. I can’t help but wonder, however, how much more impactful this might have been had it taken place a decade ago, before the 2004 election. I know that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture was just issued, but does it really say anything that we didn’t already know a long, long time ago? Haven’t we known for well over ten years now that the Bush administration violated federal law prohibiting torture, as well as the international Convention Against Torture, which we ratified in 1994? Maybe the new Senate report makes it official, but wasn’t there enough evidence during the Bush Cheney administration to at least suggest that a formal inquiry might be in order?

I’m glad that the folks at the New York Times are now attempting to get on the right side of history, but I’m never going to forget the role they played in selling us the Iraq War and everything that went along with it.


Here’s a clip from the Times piece, for those of you who haven’t read it.

…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.”

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.

But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. There are many more names that could be considered, including Jose Rodriguez Jr., the C.I.A. official who ordered the destruction of the videotapes; the psychologists who devised the torture regimen; and the C.I.A. employees who carried out that regimen…

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  1. Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Interesting views.

  2. Mr. Y
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    If found guilty, they will be pardoned. That’s how we do things in this country. See the case of Scooter Libby, who was convicted for his role in the Plame Affair and had his sentence commuted. These men will never pay the price for what they did.

  3. Meta
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    From the ACLU:

    The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the crimes detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program.

    The organizations point out that the information detailed in the report leaves no doubt that crimes were committed as part of the government’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program and that the United States is obligated by both domestic and international law to prosecute such crimes.

    The letter stated:

    “Even though our organizations have dedicated tens of thousands of staff hours to researching, litigating, and advocating on concerns related to torture and other ill-treatment in the RDI program, the depravity of the tactics and immensity of the enterprise still astound us. There is no need to repeat the details in this letter to you, but we believe it is fair to say that many of these crimes would be horrific even if committed by an individual acting alone; but when done as part of a deliberate, coordinated government program, the crimes are more shocking and far more corrosive to U.S. democracy.”

    The New York Times editorial board also called today for a full and independent criminal investigation.

    Others who have called for a criminal investigation include Juan Mendez, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture; Ben Emmerson, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism; Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Harold Koh, a former legal advisor to the Department of State said there is “more than enough to reopen investigations at the Justice Department to see whether prosecutions are warranted.”

    Read more:

  4. Demetrius
    Posted December 23, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    (Perhaps no so) ironically, the only person who has been prosecuted in relation to these war crimes is John Kiriakou, the former CIA analyst-turned-whistleblower who is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence for his role in making them public.

  5. Josh
    Posted December 24, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Apparently you still think we are a country that does the whole rule of law thing. How adorable.

  6. Posted December 24, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    You’re right, Demetrius. That’s very telling, especially when viewed alongside the case of Scooter Libby. The game, as they say, is rigged.

  7. Posted December 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    When I read comments from EOS, it feels like torture.

  8. Robert Davis
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Mr. Y,
    of course that’s what will happen; because it’s all BS. Scripted fiction, made up history.
    Created content by The Powers to Be.
    It’s the same made up BS; that has been shoved down our throats for centuries.
    Nothing new.

  9. AnotherGodBeDamnedIdiot
    Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    “Justice is delivered from the barrel of a gun.”
    Mao Tse Tung

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