DN!’s headlines today included
Amnesty: Prosecute Bush for Torture
And the human rights group Amnesty International is calling on the Obama administration to prosecute former president George W. Bush following his admission to authorizing the waterboarding torture technique. Writing in his new memoir Decision Points, Bush says he first granted the CIA permission to waterboard self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In a statement, Amnesty International said, “Under international law, anyone involved in torture must be brought to justice, and that does not exclude [Bush]. If his admission is substantiated, the U.S. has the obligation to prosecute him.”
But you’re dealing with President look-forward-and-not-into-the-past Obama. We knew this in April 2009 when he and the Republicans agreed that investigations leading to prosecutions would be somehow unsavory and unwise:
Obama said in April that CIA interrogators who had used waterboarding — a form of simulated drowning — on suspected militants will not face prosecution and he released Bush-era memos specifying that the practice did not constitute torture.
Republicans criticized Obama’s release of the memos, saying it left the door open for the prosecution of former Bush officials who authorized severe CIA interrogations.
Obama has been true to his word; former president George W. Bush thinks prosecution is so unlikely he can admit to authorizing drowning people in print and on his book promotional tour. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is coming out with a book as well in which his publisher said he’ll cover “previously undisclosed details and insights about the Bush administration, 9/11, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq”; perhaps more admission of torture is coming soon there too. Meanwhile, the CIA destroys taped evidence of two foreign prisoners’ interrogation and Obama’s Justice Department announces that there will be no charges:
Justice Dept.: No Charges in CIA Destruction of Interrogation Tapes
The Justice Department has announced no one will be charged for the destruction of videos showing the interrogation of two foreign prisoners. The tapes were destroyed amidst worries they would do political damage if ever publicly revealed. According to the Washington Post, charges still could be filed related to obstruction of justice or misleading investigators during the probe. The prosecutor heading the case, John Durham, is conducting a separate investigation into whether CIA interrogators and contractors should be charged for the Bush-era torture and abuse of foreign prisoners.