Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time to re-examine our national soul...

“A nation can survive its fools, even its ambitious; it cannot survive lies from its government.” — Cicero

"The GREEN LIGHT" crew (sanctioned torture of detainees) — missing from this photo are John Yoo, Steven Bradbury, and Jay Bybee, who basically wrote the secret memos that gave the cover for the go orders that followed.

Update: Glenn Greenwald writing in has a nice piece out on the topic of some folks who do not want the CIA interrogators to be investigated by AG Eric Holder [click here]. Greenwald offers this up for consideration, in part:

"In a truly shocking development being treated as major news (NY Times), seven former CIA Directors -- including all three who served under George W. Bush -- jointly concluded that the CIA should not be criminally investigated for torture deaths, and they have written a letter to President Obama (.pdf format) expressing that view."

"Do leaders of organizations in general ever believe that their organizations and its members should be criminally investigated and possibly prosecuted for acts carried out on behalf of that organization, and do CIA Directors specifically ever believe that about the CIA? Has a CIA Director ever advocated that CIA agents be criminally investigated for illegal intelligence activities?"

"But what's most notable about this letter is that it is not addressed to the individual charged with making decisions about whether an individual should be prosecuted: namely, the Attorney General. Instead, it is addressed to President Obama, and they "urge [him] to exercise [his] authority to reverse the Attorney General's August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations. What so-called "authority" are they talking about?"

Greenwald includes this part which is totally mind-boggling for me:

"The CIA's personal spokesman at The Washington Post, David Ignatius, argues outright that the CIA should not be prosecuted for crimes because we want to ensure they are willing to act illegally in the future."

Now I wade in: The assumption (that we want to legal in the future implies we were illegal in the past). Couple that with actual statements and documents, which all prove we tortured detainees (those so-called "enhanced techniques"), and there is ample reason to not only re-investigate, but to start writing criminal charges for prosecution -- that should be the future.

In short, we have already broken many laws (see articles below in more detail) -- so, that much is clear. How in the world can anyone in their right mind now try to justify that in the past by looking the other way now saying, "We'll get it right in the future."

It appears that they have forgotten a key legal word, and although I'm not a lawyer, I know what precedent means. And, I see one being made right now if Holder backs down. We can never move forward over the bodies laying at our feet by saying, oops, we did wrong, but we'll do better in the future. If some get away with those crimes now, then the future is open season for twice that many.

This is plainly a sad day... Mr. Holder must not, nay, cannot back down. Crimes were committed and justice begs for him to continue.

Professionals know the rules or at least they should have -- if they looked the other way and broke the law, then that's tough. There are stiff penalties for war crimes. That used to be our sense of justice -- it still is, isn't it? I wonder?

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