Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The scariest thing I ever read is an account (I read decades ago) of a torture training session in a Latin American country. Prisoners were used to demonstrate and practice methods of torture, which took the inhumanity of torture to an even higher level than the torture itself.

That level of inhumanity is almost matched in recent revelations about the Bush government's policies on torturing Muslims suspected of anti-American activities. Every act was scrupulously proscribed, monitored and reported. There was little random abuse. Every detail, down to the number of calories a day they were kept alive on, the temperature of the water used to torture them, and the number of hours they could be kept in various sized boxes, was detailed.

As details of the practices leaked, the public rose in angry protest, to no avail. The Bush administration even ignored a 2006 demand by the the US Supreme Court to stop torturing prisoners and follow the Geneva Convention.

It's a tricky political road for one president to preside over the prosecution of his predecessor (as we have found with our inability to prosecute Brian Mulroney), but Obama must bring justice to this case. As a New York Times editorial says today, "Only by making public officials accountable under the law can Americans be confident that future presidents will not feel free to break it the way Mr. Bush did."


1 comment:

Ferd said...

Sounds right, but I wonder whether we ought to get health care reform behind us first.