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)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


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

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down