As the result of the release of official memos from the Bush Administration yesterday, we learned two very important things yesterday:
1. Torture took place under George W. Bush because of orders that originated at the Bush White House itself.
The Obama Administration acknowledges that the interrogation techniques described in memos released yesterday are torture. Yet, President Obama declared that he would block the prosecution of people found to have been involved in the torture.
Obama announced that “those who carried out their duties relying in good faith” as they performed acts of torture will not be punished. In what way can torture be conducted in good faith? How does Obama think that torture is part of the duty of people working for the US government?
It is the duty of soldiers, government agents and government-employed physicians, nurses and psychologists to follow the law. In their training, they’re told that torture is against the law. Being given orders to torture by their superiors does not change that. Department of Justice memos playing word games, asserting that the law is not the law, do not make torture legal. A crime is a crime, no matter who justifies it.
The message President Barack Obama is sending to the victims of torture: We won’t help you. We won’t protect you from the people who tortured you.
The message President Barack Obama is sending to the rest of the world about the USA: We let war criminals of the hook. We allow torturers to walk the streets. Our government won’t follow the laws that it demands other governments comply with. We’re a rogue nation.
The message President Barack Obama wants to send to soldiers, spies, and other people working for the U.S. government: If you torture, it’s okay. You won’t be punished. The government will let you get away with it.
The worst part of it is that President Obama is not just letting yesterday’s torturers off the hook. Obama is encouraging the torture of tomorrow.
Here’s the punchline to the story: If you’re one of those Democrats who demanded that George W. Bush be punished for supporting torture, but you refuse to hold Barack Obama accountable for his support of torture, you’re engaged in the same ugly act as Obama: Saying that torture is okay, so long as it’s our guy who’s doing it.