POLITICAL observations & opinions

* investigation and prosecution of the criminals of the Bush administration, right to the top if necessary, must go forward

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 29, 2009

Tom Friedman writes in the NYT (4/29/09) …


  • Weighing everything, President Obama got it about as right as one could when he decided to ban the use of torture, to release the Bush torture memos for public scrutiny and to not prosecute the lawyers and interrogators who implemented the policy.
  • The president’s decision to expose but not prosecute those responsible for this policy is surely unsatisfying.
  • Then why justify the Obama compromise? Two reasons:
  • the first is that because justice taken to its logical end here would likely require bringing George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and other senior officials to trial, which would rip our country apart;
  • and the other is that Al Qaeda truly was a unique enemy, and the post-9/11 era a deeply confounding war in a variety of ways.

LMW COMMENT … Friedman’s justification for failing to prosecute those who broke the law falls flat. First, we must recognize there is no evidence that torture of prisoners accomplished anything useful, and may have done great harm by producing false information. In fact, it appears that the Bush/Cheney torture objective was precisely to produce false information – linking Saddam and bin Laden – to justify their horrendously stupid decision to invade Iraq. To excuse those who knowingly broke the law, not for high purposes of national interest, but to further their own low goals of a war of choice for political and personal reasons, is in itself inexcusable. I am hopeful that President Obama will eventually allow himself to be convinced that investigation and prosecution of the criminals of the Bush administration, right to the top if necessary, must go forward.

read Friedman’s entire column at … http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/opinion/29friedman.html?ref=opinion



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