Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The inevitability of justice

Our system of justice, despite all its flaws, does have certain institutional pressures that provide it a relentlessness once some wrongdoing comes to light.

Political pressure can delay, obscure and deflect criminal prosecutions but it can rarely stop it altogether. More than six decades later the occasional Nazi still goes to trial. After 30, 40 or even 50 years Civil Rights cases have resulted in convictions. War crimes, especially, are unbounded in time except for death. That is why culpable individuals such as John Yoo, David Addington, Dick Cheney and even George Bush should be very worried about the legal process that is starting to unfold.

Scot Horton, as always, sums things up very well here with seven points about the recently released report on torture. The most chilling may his first point: the worst is yet to come.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Threatening to kill children

According to the IG report, this is one of the tactics we used.

It will obviously take a determined and excruciating effort to root out the rot that the Bush-era torture policies fostered. And there will be many, many voices trying to fight it. Most will claim any investigation will be merely political, although this is really laughable as many of these same people supported very political investigations during the Bush years.

In any case, there are some very important principles at stake here, and winning this battle is far from certain. But losing the battle for accountability risks very deep, profound and long-lasting (generational) damage to America. If only a few privates, sergeants, contractors and field agents are punished for this betrayal of American values then those values will have been proven hollow and meaningless for all the world to see.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Your papers, please

Seems a 68-year-old man can't walk down the street without ID these days, even when he's white (and famous!).

Slate - Encyclopedia Baracktannica