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24 April 2009


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Byron Raum

It seems to me that the one assumption everyone on all sides is making is that being accused is tantamount to being guilty. Would it not be better if they were put on trial and had a chance to have their say in front of a jury of their peers? Stripped of their vestige of power, we would see them as the flawed human beings that they are, and perhaps agree with the choices they felt they were forced to make. Or, perhaps, convict them. Either way, justice would be served. Furthermore, I get the impression there's one very senior member of the former administration who's very much raring to go.

Buzz Meeks

The rule of law has to be brought back into play. I think the majority of Americans want it and it will not hurt the Democratic party. Look what Slick Willie Clinton got for covering up Iran Contra and the treasonous October Surprise. If that was the thanks the Dems got for going along with the Rethugs what do they have to loose now?

The rule of law will break the back of AIPAC/ fascistic right wing for another sixty years or so. Maybe longer if folks pay attention and perform their duties as citizens of this soon to disappear republic.

Buzz Meeks

Buzz Meeks

Babak Makkinejad

Eric Dönges:

The country that prosecuted the largest numbers of war criminals was USSR.

You are correct about Germany after the war - the entire country should have been imprisoned if one wanted to imprison all the NAZIs.

The German judges were all the NAZI judges well through 1960.

I think you are not accurate about US. Rule of Law had been established and respected in US by the middle of 1880s.

I think what you have witnessed is the corrosive effects of wealth and power on the body politic of US over the last 2 generations.

There is a saying in Persian: "The foundation of injustice in the world was rather small but every man added his little bit to it until it reached to this level."

It was attributed to a King who lived 1500 years ago.


To Bill Wade:

"Ron Paul comes to mind."

Yep, he comes to my mind too...As Surgeon General...on account of he's an OB/GYN physician, from Pasadena Texas. The air is greener in Pasadener, doncha' know.

Glen Raphael

More importantly, a precedent of prosecution of members of a previous administration is likely to lead to retaliation on an unending basis.

Which would be fantastic! Who could reasonably complain if it were the general policy that when an administration commits serious crimes, the next administration holds it to account?


In a preface to a 1966 publication called “American Strategy: A New Perspective” written by Urs Shwarz, Kissinger wrote: “By the same token during periods of peace, American policy-makers have often acted as if international relations were like a gigantic debate in which victory went to the side presenting the most reasonable arguments… while diplomacy tended to confuse legal formulae with substantive achievement.”

The legal formulae even then getting in the way of ‘substantive achievement’ were of course, the Geneva Conventions.

The mindset continues: morality is an impediment to the swift use of power.


The Constitution supported slavery.

Ultimately, the country entered into a civil war over slavery costing the lives of 600,000 soldiers.

A war followed by 100 years of segregation and lynchings.

Now, today, we have an African-American President.

An African-American President whose enemies say is not an American citizen, whose enemies say is a Muslim, whose enemies say anything that comes into their disturbed minds.

And we have a financial crisis whose essence is the terrible loss of employment by millions of Americans, a crushing blow to millions of homes. A financial crisis that appears to be testing the new administration beyond its abilities.

Bush tortured. Bush was a moron. Unless you think you can put Bush behind bars, move on.


Krugman supports prosecutions.

I still say that without Bush and Cheney in the dock, there is no point to it.


While I appreciate the political downside and upside to any prosecution of government employees who committed felonies, as has been said many, many times in the blogs and elsewhere, absolutely no decision on prosecution should be made with an eye towards political advantage or disadvantage.

That's just not the way the criminal justice system is supposed to work.

We saw enough of that these past 8 years.

Sven Ortmann

@Richard Armstrong:
"Just to name two examples, both France and Germany continuted such proescutions nearly a decade afer the end of wwII."

Actually, Germany just got one particular asshole handed out who will be trialled here for Nazi crimes soon. Only biology will end our prosecution of such criminals.

We cannot claim that the (then still right-wing-ish) justice system of the 50's and 60's did a stellar job on it, though. That was part of the reason for our '68 movement.


As ugly as this is going to be, to take a phrase from another, the bottle cannot be re-corked. Lets move forward, have the trials and learn what really occurred plus the benefit, if any.

What has baffled me in this process is after waterboarding someone 5 times what more truth do you get on the next 50+ times??


Time is of the essence in these matters because the statute of limitations under 18 USC 2340-2340A is 8 years. Since everyone knows that the information is going to come out anyway, I feel that a lot of the pushback against going after these crimes is to beat the statute.


This is a big deal. We have gone too far. This is a pivotal moment in America history and we are failing. If we can't self-correct then we should forever shut up about how better we supposedly are. We stand for nothing otherwise. I exercise my pursuit of happiness: I say no: I declare everything fresh and fair. God help us.


They broke the law in so many ways, it's not even funny.


under the UN Convention Against Torture which was signed by President Reagan and ratified by a Republican Congress in 1995, which forms the basis for 18 USC 2340...

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.


OK. so this is interesting. Cheney can read the inside of Obama's inner working. He anticipate and make counter moves days before Obama's official announcement.

Cheney is now the guy to watch, along with Bibi.


Cheney's request was submitted March 31, more than two weeks before President Obama decided to release four "top secret" memos in which Bush administration lawyers sanctioned harsh tactics for questioning prisoners.

The release of the memos has renewed a fiery debate over whether former senior Bush officials should be the targets of criminal investigations into whether they violated U.S. and international laws prohibiting torture. Obama said this week that his administration has not ruled out prosecuting senior lawyers and others responsible for allowing the harsh tactics, but he said he opposes a special "truth commission" favored by some lawmakers.


Cheney, who has emerged as an outspoken critic of Obama's national security policies, said in an interview on Fox News this week that he had asked for the release of documents that "lay out what we learned through the interrogation process" and how it saved U.S. lives.

Clifford Kiracofe

"U.S. Soldier Who Killed Herself--After Refusing to Take Part in Torture
With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo, I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson.

By Greg Mitchell

(April 23, 2009) -- With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo (and who, knows, probably elsewhere), I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who I have written about numerous times in the past three years but now with especially sad relevance. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what we would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, in September 2003.

Of course, we now know from the torture memos and the U.S. Senate committee probe and various new press reports, that the "Gitmo-izing" of Iraq was happening just at the time Alyssa got swept up in it.

Alyssa Peterson was one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq. A cover-up, naturally, followed."


David Habakkuk


'What has baffled me in this process is after waterboarding someone 5 times what more truth do you get on the next 50+ times??'.

A report by Jonathan Landay on McClatchy suggests that one of the things that was being looked for was confessions -- in order to substantiate the claims of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda which had been central to justifying the war in Iraq.

(See http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/66622.html.)

Paul Woodward, who edits the War in Context website, suggests parallels with the Spanish Inquisition. Another obvious parallel is, of course, with Stalinist practice.

William R. Cumming

Just to point out for the record, ethical competent attorneys draft opinions stating what is the best legal position, not what barely passes some brainstorm of what might be legal. This principle never understood by many is what killed the Robert Bork nomination for the Supreme Court. He never understood and never will that even legal scholarship is subject to this principle.


Byron Raum says "It seems to me that the one assumption everyone on all sides is making is that being accused is tantamount to being guilty."

This is precisely the point the defendants at Guantonimo Bay are making - accusation is not guilt. They have been tortured, just not tried.


Thanks for the comment: Babak Makkinejad

About 15 years ago and old lady and the daughter of a socialist told me, and I guess this was much from experience, she saw that the resistance of her father didn't pay, while his enemies went on to live quite well after:

"But who else but they had leadership experience, who could have built up the German state."

She simply accepted matters as they were. She wasn't a bad woman. Simply a realist.


Stripped of their vestige of power, we would see them as the flawed human beings that they are, and perhaps agree with the choices they felt they were forced to make. Or, perhaps, convict them. B. Raum

This would not be "the rule of law," would it?

Babak Makkinejad



You can read the autobiography of Francois Jacob who joined the Free French at 18 and was severely wounded late in the war.

He was hospitalized in France after the war and the attitude of his relatives - while visiting him - was regret for his wrong career move. That he could have had a nice medical career being a collaborator in occupied France. Honor meant nothing to them.

I wonder what the French would have done without De Gaulle.

Likewise, in South Korea the Japanese collaborators and their descendants have been running the show after WWII while the patriots and their children have been shunted to the side or outright murdered.


There is no question that some solid intelligence was developed through torture. The question is whether it could have been obtained without torture.

The Nazis were actually mindful of the Geneva Conventions of 1929 in their interrogation camps for Allied officers. As a result, their interrogators were often university professors and their methods more subtle than brutal, though not always. Where possible, they used "wine, women, and song" (and cigarettes) to learn small details, putting them together with other small details to get the whole picture.


James Philip Pratt

I hope that most people realize that in the real world torture is not used 'to prevent terrorist attacks' but is used, as in the case of Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, to extort false confessions to justify selfish political behavior. Perhaps if millions of Americans learned that a man was thrown against walls and waterboarded 183 times to provide a false tie between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida it would be a disincentive to future leaders to do the like.



Do you smell that odor coming out of D.C., it's the smell of Cheney,Yoo, Libby, and Addington (adding also a few others) criminally roasting for their torture. See how craftely that our new prez is laying the road to Nuremburg II for Cheney and crew. And it appears that they haven't a clue. Until it will be too late for them.

Cheney has made himself one heck of a paper trail for himself, that

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