ADDINGTONMelissaGolden:Getty

Spain is serious, as any country concerned with human rights should be:

The six defendantsin addition to Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feithare accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.”

Garzon will step aside. And Obama, it appears, will get out of the way:

The Spanish prosecutors advised the Americans that they would suspend their investigation if at any point the United States were to undertake an investigation of its own into these matters. They pressed to know whether any such investigation was pending. These inquiries met with no answer from the U.S. side.

I share Greenwald's deepening concern about Obama's concessions to the national security state. But I am not convinced there is no method to his meandering.

Obama understands he is the president, which means that he understands, unlike his overwhelmed predecessor, that he is the president of all Americans.

He knows that indictment and prosecution of the war criminals at the heart of the last administration would appear to those cocooned from the reality of what happened as an assault on American unity and stability. That proper concern has to be balanced against the gravity of the crimes, the profound nature of the constitutional claims that underpinned them, and the necessity to uphold the rule of law. And so a process whereby the president hangs back a little, allows the evidence to slowly filter out,  releases memos that help prove to Americans that what was done was unequivocally torture and indisputably illegal ... is not to be despised.

I think Obama knows what happened; and he knows that, in the end, America will have to face it. He will not defend it, but he will not be the prosecutor either. It's the long game he knows. And it's the long game that will bring these people to justice.

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