The Washington Post reports today that earlier reports of a vigorous program of investigation and prosecution for violations of federal torture law were wildly overstated. The Obama Administration Department of Justice will look at far fewer than ten cases. These cases will be prosecuted not solely for torture, but also apparently for homicide, with the selection of cases where detainees died after being beaten and frozen. Even then, Obama administration insiders suggest that charges may be dropped, because detainees dying after being beaten and frozen “may have died a natural death from clogged arteries.”
The Bush administration was condemned for concluding that torture isn’t torture unless someone almost dies. The Obama administration appears to be concluding that torture doesn’t matter unless someone actually does die.