Please Prosecute, Mr. President
In spite of brutal interrogation methods used by the CIA, the Obama administration is deciding not to prosecute those who may have broken the law. BushCo. approved these methods that were used between 2002 and 2005 in secret overseas prisons. After World War II, the United States prosecuted Japanese interrogators who used methods detailed in four newly-released memos.
Among the techniques described:
- Keeping detainees awake for 11 straight days
- Placing detainees in dark, cramped, boxes with insects
- Forced nudity
- Slamming suspects into walls
It is to the president’s credit that these details have been released, and he did so against the wishes of intelligence officials.
Mr. Obama condemned what he called a “dark and painful chapter in our history” and said that the interrogation techniques would never be used again. But he also repeated his opposition to a lengthy inquiry into the program, saying that “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”
Jay S. Bybee, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote the first memo, and Stephen D. Bradbury, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, signed the other three, averring that these methods were legally acceptable.
Mr. Bybee, Mr. Bradbury and John Yoo, who was the leading author of the 2002 interrogation memos, are the subjects of an investigation by the Justice Department’s ethics office about their legal analysis on interrogation. Officials have described the draft ethics report, by the Office of Professional Responsibility, as highly critical, but its completion has been delayed to allow the subjects a chance to respond.
The A.C.L.U. said the memos clearly describe criminal conduct and underscore the need to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate who authorized and carried out torture.
But Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence, cautioned that the memos were written at a time when C.I.A. officers were frantically working to prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In other words, they played on the fears of the American public, compromising liberty in the name of safety, and achieving neither.Click here for reuse options!
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