Torture: The Smoking Gun?


As more details trickle out, we have the possibility of a real breakthrough in accountability for the torture and abuse techniques authorized by president Bush as illustrated above. AP story here. Ambers:

Ostensibly, Yoo, an attorney for the Office of Legal Counsel and Bybee, that section's chief, were tasked by Attorney General John Ashcroft with determining whether so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" violated U.S. law and treaty obligations.  But a draft report, prepared by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Review,  suggests that, at the direction of the White House, the OLC worked to justify a policy that had already been determined and did not begin their inquiry from a neutral position.

It is not clear -- and sources would not say -- who in the White House communicated with the two lawyers about the memos, and it is not clear whether Yoo or Bybee felt unduly pressured to provide a legal framework for a decision already made by senior administration officials.

Who in the White House ordered up these memos to provide phony legal cover for a plainly illegal torture policy already decided upon? That's what we need to find out. From the leaks, this OPR report could be the next critical step in finding out the source of the criminality. In the end, it's Holder's call; and he may decide to take his time. My concern, now that we have ended the torture program, is simply that we get to the bottom of its origin, however long it takes, and that those really responsible are held to account under the rule of law and under the judgment of history.

This is not about vengeance; it's not about partisanship; it's about the integrity of the rule of law, without which we are all lost.