Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 9:55 pm

And now we know; or, if the jackboot fits, we can damned well wear it

Three years and a couple of weeks ago, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said this:

“The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. … After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.”

And just before the holiday weekend, we learned:

The Justice Department has opened full criminal investigations of the deaths in CIA custody of two detainees, including one who perished at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The decision, announced by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., means continued legal jeopardy for several CIA operatives but at the same time closes the book on inquiries that potentially threatened many others. A federal prosecutor reviewed 101 cases in which agency officers and contractors interrogated suspected terrorists during years of military action after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but found cause to pursue criminal cases in only two. …

“On this, my last day as director, I welcome the news that the broader inquiries are behind us,” said a statement from CIA Director Leon Panetta, who will take over as defense secretary on Friday. “We are now finally about to close this chapter of our agency’s history.”

Keep in mind that the military early this year released documentation on the deaths of 190 detainees in U.S. custody, including what the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued for the documents, called 25 to 30 cases of “unjustified homicide.”

So I guess we now know the answer to Gen. Taguba’s heretofore remaining question: No, those who ordered the use of torture will not be held to account.

OK. There we are. Congratulations, folks; our attorney general has just repealed Godwin’s Law by fiat.


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