A large swath of the political class wants to avoid the torture debate. The Obama administration backed into it last week, and obviously wants to back right out again.
But the argument isn’t going away. It will be with us as long as the threat of terrorism endures. And where the Bush administration’s interrogation programs are concerned, we’ve heard too much to just “look forward,” as the president would have us do. We need to hear more: What was done and who approved it, and what intelligence we really gleaned from it. Not so that we can prosecute unless the Democratic Party has taken leave of its senses but so that we can learn, and pass judgment, and struggle toward consensus.
The only way to do that is a truth commission, broadly constituted with enough time, and money to do the job right. A lot of the work has already been done. Only after the commission reports should the question of prosecution be addressed.