Much Worse Than Nothing

If the reports are true and attorney general Eric Holder really is going to launch criminal investigations only for those who went beyond the torture authorized by Bush, then the Obama administration, however well-intentioned it may be, risks essentially legitimizing the torture it does not prosecute. This strikes me as the very very worst of all possible worlds - the kind of split-the-difference pragmatism that will end up alienating everyone. It is vital that the Obama administration does nothing to imply that what was authorized within the rules under the Cheney torture program is in any way legal, defensible or moral.

Obama has ended the torture - and in ths subsequent six months, we have seen real progress against al Qaeda.

But if the Obama administration does not investigate those really responsible for war crimes, and scapegoats a few sadists down the line instead, then they risk retroactively justifying the crimes they ran against.

Is this what Frank Rich calls being "punked" by Obama? By parsing this thing so finely, he will provoke the rage of his enemies merely by doing; but he will also fail to address the real issue of accountability and the rule of law. Perhaps Holder thinks that if he pulls at this string, others will follow. Better to have a truth commission to nail down in real detail all the prisoner abuse and torture of the Cheney years - and then decide whom to prosecute.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In