Torture and Accountability

The investigation of Bush-era US interrogation policies that include torture shouldn’t be controversial. Nor should the investigation of the illegal surveillance of Americans. But apparently it is because someone told Scott Shane that it would impair the ability for President Obama to have a positive domestic agenda.

Torture took place in our names. Pretending that it didn’t will not improve our standing in the world. But investigating it and holding those who ordered it to account might actually make a difference. We know the evidence exists. We have to have the courage, as a government and as a people to face our actions.

Yes, there are major challenges facing us domestically. We need major healthcare reform, labor law reform, education reform, and a coherent energy policy that helps in the fight against global warming. But we are capable of multitasking. We can look forward while correcting the errors of the past. Hell, that’s the whole point of all of these domestic reform initiatives – that things were done poorly or incorrectly in the past, that we have to learn from them, and now do things better. How is the investigation of Bush-era abuses of the rule of law and rules of war any different?

Only people who wish to protect the perpetrators of these illegal actions on torture, surveillance, extraordinary rendition, and data mining will forward the canard that accountability and investigation will stymie the President’s positive domestic agenda.  It’s a bogus argument and one that has the potential to make permanent the damage the Bush administration did to America’s standing in the world.

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