Friday, April 10, 2009

Torture & Truth: Cheney's Ongoing Role

The New York Review of Books has an excellent essay by Mark Danner, author of Torture and Truth, about the Red Cross and their role in US torture. Danner argues four things now need to be done:
First, that these policies, violating as they do domestic and international law, must be changed — which, as noted, President Obama began to accomplish on his first full day in office. Second, that they should be explicitly repudiated — a more complicated political process, which has, perhaps, begun, but only begun. Third, that those who ordered, designed, and applied them must be brought before the public in some societally sanctioned proceeding, made to explain what they did and how, and suffer some appropriate consequence.

And fourth, and crucially, that some judgment must be made, based on the most credible of information compiled and analyzed and weighed by the most credible of bodies, about what these policies actually accomplished: how they advanced the interests of the country, if indeed they did advance them, and how they hurt them.

If this last point isn't pursued then the use of torture becomes a political football - Obama's rejection of it simply being a policy, not a law. If and when a republican administration takes over in the future, torture, or these "alternative set of procedures," will likely be implemented again.

While the US dithers, it's nice to know the international community isn't just waiting around.

Jane Mayer's piece in The New Yorker, "The Bush Six," reports that a British law professor - Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team - and the same Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzón, who pursued Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, are on the case.

Here's a recent interview with Mark Danner from the Rachel Maddow show:

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