Much Worse Than Nothing

More

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.

Jump to comments

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

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

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

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down