Friday, April 17, 2009

Mr. Attorney General: Appoint a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Torture

Yesterday the Obama administration released four previously secret Bush administration legal memos, here, here, here and here, that had been used to give legal cover for the Bush "enhanced interrogation" program. After reading the recently released ICRC report and now these legal memos, one can plainly see why someone in the Bush administration was in such a hurry to destroy the 92 videos that provided clear evidence of the lawless interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. 

But even without these videos it doesn't take much of an imagination to understand the full horror of this monstrous program that our own government created and mercilessly used on so many of our prisoners. 

While I congratulate the Obama administration for having the courage to release these memos, despite the considerable political pressure they received from people, both inside and outside of the administration, there is still much more that needs to be done before we can even begin to restore our country's honor.

We are now at a point where the citizens of this country must become fully engaged on this issue. We can no longer ignore the massive amount of evidence in front of us. If we're honest with ourselves we must finally face up to the fact that there is no longer any doubt that our country systematically tortured our prisoners. The question now is what are we going to do about it?

While the torture that was done in our names can't be undone, we can make sure that the whole scheme is exposed and discredited by confronting it head on. We can also make sure that those who were responsbile for these war crimes are held accountable in a court of law in order to prevent future officials from even thinking about repeating this dark chapter in our history. And in case you don't believe that torture can happen again just look at the comment made yesterday by a former Bush official:

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says the Obama administration is endangering the country by releasing the memos. 

Hayden tells The Associated Press the release will give terrorists a precise guide for what to expect in a CIA interrogation if those methods are ever approved for use again. 

Unbelievable as it may seem, Mr. Hayden, is actually envisioning a day in the future when we might want to use torture again. Even in the midst of the well deserved, worldwide condemnation for our horrendous use of torture this man still wants to torture and sadly he's not alone. We have a small, radical element in this country who don't support our traditional American values and instead believe that the president is above the law and can do anything he wants, including torture. They must be stopped by us or we risk having them come to power again. Zealots like Mr. Hayden, Dick Cheney and others of their ilk are convinced that they are right, even when the evidence clearly shows that they are wrong. They will continue to harm our country from within until they are stopped.

In order to stop them we must all take off our political hats and come together as citizens to fight this danger from within. This fight isn't about Democrats vs. Republicans. This fight is about citizens vs. a small group of radicals, whose extremist views endanger our country. If we have the courage to come together, despite our political differences, we can defeat them. 

Please call, email or send letters to your Senators, Congressional Reps., the President, the Justice Dept., Party leaders,  and the media demanding that a special prosecutor be appointed to thoroughly investigate and prosecute these war crimes. To do anything less will make us all complicit in torture.

Update: Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post up today that I would encourage everyone to read

Update 2: Michael Mukasey has now joined General Hayden in defending torture

Update 3: Bruce Fein, former Reagan official, also has an excellent post up today that was cited in this piece by Rod Dreher.

Update 4: My previous headline on this post was wrong. It read: Mr. President: Appoint a Special Prosecutor. This was incorrect as it is up to the AG to appoint a Special Prosecutor not the President. I have corrected the headline and removed a sentence from this piece that repeated that mistake. My apology to my readers for getting this so obviously wrong.

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