Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, February 20, 2009 7:25 am

Et tu, Obama?

Filed under: Hold! Them! Accountable! — Lex @ 7:25 am
Tags: , ,

With very few exceptions — Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin comes to mind — leaders of both major political parties have been reluctant to discuss the U.S. torture of detainees, many if not most of them innocent.

Barack Obama came closest to taking a firm stand. This past April he said, “if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in cover-ups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law.”

There’s no “if.” We already have plenty of evidence that there was torture and that it was approved and ordered at the highest levels of government — Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and President Bush himself, who told ABC News last year that he had signed off on torture.

Americans want these crimes investigated, and Obama supporters are particularly stressing that issue. On the site on which Obama has been soliciting questions and suggestions for his administration’s agenda, the top question under “additional issues,” the catchall for topics not found in other categories, was this: “Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor – ideally Patrick Fitzgerald – to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?”

Problem is, Obama apparently plans to continue the practice of “rendering” suspects to other countries for questioning, that question quite likely including torture. Doing this would constitute violations of both U.S. law and humanitarian treaties, thus making Obama as much of a war criminal as are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Is that really where Obama wants to go? For the country’s good, I hope he rethinks this and returns the U.S. to the rule of law. Our military and our criminal-justice system, the greatest on the planet, are quite capable of addressing terrorism issues without turning suspects — and remember, in most cases that’s all they are — over to third parties for torture.

We’ve had enough war crimes. Let’s put a stop to them. Otherwise, Obama could become just as deserving of prison time — or, depending on circumstances, the gallows — as his predecessors.


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