Thursday, December 18, 2008

Prosecuting Bush and Cheney for Torture

Prosecuting Bush and Cheney for Torture by Dave Lindorff on

There is no mention of the obvious point that if crimes have been committed—and in the case of the authorizing of torture, which is banned by both international treaties to which the US is a signatory, and by US law, which folded the torture bans into the US Criminal Code for good measure, they clearly have been—the president and his incoming attorney general have a sworn obligation to prosecute them. That’s what “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” means, after all.

A “politically fraught” step? That should apply to not prosecuting criminals, should it not?

Mr. Lindorff is making a point that I've been trying to make for awhile about the Democrats. This thread runs back through events like the launching of the Iraq war and the question of impeachment of President Bush. That is that the Democrats are willing to sell out the Constitution of the United States for their own short term political gain.

We see it here. As Mr. Lindorff points out, President Obama is about to take an oathc to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foriegn and domestic. The very core idea of the Constitution is that we are a nation of laws. This is different from the rule of kings where the whim of the king sets the law. Instead, the principle at the very foundation of the American system is that there are laws that apply to all people, and that all people are subject to the same laws.

It is the duty of a government official, or an 'officer of the court' to report crimes that they know about. It is the duty of the Justice Department to investigate crimes they know about. This is not a political decision. This is not optional depending on the political situation. If laws have been violated, then its the responsibility of officials in the Justice Dept to investigate these and prosecute these as needed. And when Mr. Obama takes that oath of office, surrounded by 20,000 troops and police, in January, then he is giving his solemn oath that he will make sure this happens.

The Democrats have been very critical of the Republicans for 'playing politics' with the appointments of US Attorneys, and also of the various politically motivated investigations aimed at Democrats.

But, isn't it exactly the same thing if President Obama and his Justice Dept are making decisions to not to prosecute government officials who have broken the law based on politics? Obama promised 'change' in his campaign. But it looks like we still have the same old same old where its politics who determines who gets investigated and prosecuted, and not the law or the facts.


Samson said...

This is also up on CD. One good thing is that Mr. Lindorf joins in the comments on his articles.

I can't post over there, but to answer one of the questions. For US Federal Law, see the War Crimes Act of 1996.

Link to Wikipedia article

Under the US Constitution, a treaty, like the Geneva Conventions which the US has legally ratified becomes the 'highest law in the land'.

US Law is then supposed to comply with this. So, for instance you sometimes see Congress passing bills to comply with a treaty. With trade this happens at times.

KDelphi said...

Yes. We should consider that Obama has already wiped his rear on the Constituion , by helping to pass FISA, letting the telecoms off the hook, etc.

I do not understand how we can have a future, without some kind of justice. Everytime it is called for, there is an excuse...

All Obama and teh Dems cares about is power.

I thought about that today, when Dubya, said, "I took an oath to defend this country, no matter how". Well that is not exactly true. He took an oath to defend the constitution. So will Obama. But, an alrdady butchered one.

It should be up to him to reverse some of that. I grow increasingly certain that he will not.

KDelphi said...

War crimes are committed (well, there's many of them), but, when the "war" is not necessary (defensive), when civilians are targeted, and, when there is no clear method used for the protection of civilians.

I know the Abu Gharib, et al falls under other statutes...

Am I posting in the wrong place, or, is no one posting much any more?

Lyle said...

Prosecution of Bush and Cheney for war crimes will not happen because of the complicity of the Democrats in those war crimes.

Lindorf is a funny chap. I remember him on Common Dreams criticising those exasperated with the Democrats intransigence to Impeach by taking a swipe (quoting Lenin) at them saying they were suffering from some left wing infantile disorder. Go figure!

KDelphi said...

Hey , Lyle. The articles are becoming the only thing worth reading at CD...

FrederickJohnson said...

KDelphi, Lyle,

To answer your question about the future, here's a simple answer. It goes something like this. "Join us and we'll give you a free ipod." In other words, keep them blinded by ignorance as much as possible and screw them.

At this rate, Clinton will look like a "liberal" by the end of Obama's first term and if Obama gets a second one, he'll probably have out-Bushed Bush.

Lyle said...

From Physicians for Human Rights: "Last week McClatchy Newspapers reported that mass graves at Dasht-e-Leili in Northern Afghanistan, first discovered by PHR researchers in January 2002, have been destroyed. According to witnesses, the remains buried there are of prisoners who surrendered to Northern Alliance and US forces in November 2001, following the fall of the city of Kunduz. The victims of the Dasht-e-Leili massacre allegedly died from suffocation inside cargo containers.

Experts from PHR's International Forensic Program examined the site for the UN in 2002. Since then, PHR has advocated for the mass graves to be protected, for the Afghan Government, with the UN's support, to launch a full investigation, and for the Bush Administration and Congress to conduct a public inquiry into this potential war crime.

With these new revelations of alleged destruction of war crimes evidence in Afghanistan—which is itself a war crime—PHR is again the leading voice calling for NATO to support Afghan forces in protecting the site, and for Afghan, US, and UN officials to launch a comprehensive investigation.

Our investigation of war crimes at Dasht-e-Leili continues, with more developments yet to come. We've set up an online clearinghouse, where you can find more background information and follow our updates on the changing situation: