Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Impunity


Hunter captures the crux of the issue:
It seems transparently obvious to Washington, to the Obama administration and its allies, to the Republicans and the Democrats of Congress, to all the very important people working very serious jobs, that while we can with great fanfare and self-satisfaction no longer torture prisoners in our care -- a war crime, in any context not involving ourselves -- it is far more challenging a proposition to think that we would actually take steps to enforce the myriad laws and conventions against it.

And in that sense, torture by the United States of America is as good as legalized, because we have all but declared that it will never be that illegal, the kind of illegal that leads to investigations and punishment. It will merely remain a deplorable act -- a war crime, in any context not involving us doing the torture -- that we will never, ever use, except when we do, and without consequence. We will not condone it but, like in Serbia, or Guatemala, or Cambodia, or the thugs of any one of a hundred pissant groups and countries that used the practice to vicious effect, when to their advantage, we will ignore the laws, the treaties and conventions, and we will not prosecute our torturers. Or, God forbid, those that specifically ordered the practice. Or those that sought to legalize it, on pen and paper, with arguments comprehensible only to sociopaths or monsters.

[Emphasis mine]

The following, also from Hunter, should not need to be stated - but, alas, it does.
It apparently needs to be stated, yet again, that this is not a case of seeking vengeance. When powerful people are caught in illegal acts, it is nearly always the case that they claim prosecuting them would be "vengeance": it never enters the minds of our leaders, whether they be in government or in business, that perhaps the law should be applied to them simply because it is the law.
Indeed.

Read the whole article here.

Obama has begun, and is doing, lots of wonderful things to turn this nation around. I am very grateful and pleased to witness it. But I am still waiting to see if there will be a restoration of the rule of law. So far, I'm not seeing it.

--the BB

2 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

Paul, one thing gives me hope. It's not really up to Obama or Rahm Emmanuel whether or not prosecutions take place. It's up to the DOJ. The Congress is doing its own investigating, and if they have reason to believe that crimes were committed, they will turn their evidence over to the DOJ. I don't see Obama stepping in to obstruct justice, if the DOJ proceeds to prosecute. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and the process has taken on a life of its own.

Obama wants to do what needs doing to pull us out of the economic hole and move forward with health care reform and other important problems that must be addressed. Prosecutions are not his job, and he should probably say less about them than more.

Wasn't there a time when the DOJ was a lot less political and more about upholding the rule of law? Let's hope that the DOJ under Obama goes back to doing their job.

Paul said...

Mimi, I am also hoping the DOJ steps in and takes over. It IS supposed to be independent of the WH, though it has been a while since we've seen that.

I agree that it is not the President's job to attend to this, though the DOJ is part of the Executive Branch. I certainly don't want him bogged down in it when there are huge issues that need addressing.

We shall see if the rule of law is asserted and enacted. I have not despaired, but I am waiting.