Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama, Bush And The Rule Of Law:

No legal authority in  human history would judge the waterboarding of a prisoner 83 or 183 times in one month as anything but torture. If it were done to a US soldier, would Dick Cheney refuse to call it torture? Of course not, although it is telling that no reporter has ever asked him this obvious question directly.

And so it is simply an empirical fact that president Bush broke the law and violated his oath of office by ordering the torture of prisoners.

Note that this wasn't an emergency moment, or a ticking time-bomb scenario. It was a decision to torture made months after the 9/11 attacks and re-asserted years after the 9/11 attack, and set up as a program, with elaborate rules, staffing and bureaucracy, to torture prisoners for the indefinite future.

Now fast-forward to February 2007 when the International Committee of the Red Cross notifies the president of the United States that it believes that his administration has engaged in what was unequivocally torture of prisoners. At that point, the president is required, by law and by treaty, to open an investigation and prosecution of the guilty parties. The president failed to do that, another breach of the law. Moreover, any president privy to that information is required to initiate an investigation and prosecution - or violate the law and the Geneva Conventions.

And so Obama's refusal to investigate war crimes is itself against the law.

2:42 PM