Saturday, February 28, 2009

An Admitted Crime Demands A Prosecutor

No longer in office, Bush and Cheney have admitted publicly that they waterboarded. They created flaky legal opinions, untested in court, that allowed it. They set up the prisons. They ordered particular tortures of particular prisoners. They waterboarded. Some prisoners were tortured until they were killed.

The act of waterboarding is - simply and clearly - a crime. It is a criminal act under our laws and under our international treaties. We have sentenced to death those who did it to our soldiers in World War II. Under American law and under world law, waterboarding is a crime.

Either we give Bush and Cheney a pass - in which case their new principle of absolute Presidential privilege stands proven - or we do for them what we would do for any other American - bring them before a court of law and let the courts determine their criminality.

We must indict and try them.

If Presidential privilege can be absolute, then so can much else over time. Such a privilege would guarantee a people perpetually in revolt. Eternal struggle would be our only freedom, eternal vigilance the signal to struggle. Nature mitigates against absoluteness. We must indict.

Even now as our tortured prisoners continue on a hunger strike until they are freed. We must indict.

Also, if we don't indict Bush and Cheney for their confessed crimes but instead let them run out the clock on the statute of limitations, other countries will judge them in our place. Other countries may even hire thugs for Bush and Cheney's capture and rendition. Before the world, they have confessed their crime. The world can legally be their judge and executioner. It likely will be, if we aren't. The American statute of limitations may not apply in other lands. Our failure will be local. So we must indict.

Many people
are now coming to similar conclusions and are asking Eric Holder, our Attorney General, to appoint a special prosecutor to bring these confessed criminals before a court of law.

The world is watching. We must indict the torturers. Or we are them.

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