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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/22/09

Obama's Complicity in Bush/Cheney Lawbreaking

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Special Comment: U.S. future depends on torture accountability
UN torture investigator: Obama has broken International law
Obama no torture prosecution vow meets resistance

Yes, it would be hard to stomach making scapegoats of the torturers by not also punishing those who authorized and ordered it, as Bush/Cheney did following the Abu Ghraib abuses, but, frankly, that shouldn't be a consideration -- CAT specifically rules out the "just following orders" excuse, which has been roundly rejected since the days of the U.S.-led Nuremberg Trials. Are we really no better than the Nazis?

The Obama administration is obviously playing politics but can't have it both ways; either we're a nation of laws or we're not. There has to be accountability for Bush/Cheney's illegal torture regime, so, with the actual interrogators now improperly immunized (as long as they stayed within the guidance of the torture memos), the push must now re-focus on the upper echelons of the prior administration, even Bush and Cheney themselves.

Unfortunately Obama has shown no inclination toward holding them accountable, either, which means Congress should take up the reins. Senator Patrick Leahy, Representative John Conyers, and others have talked about commissions and hearings which could lead to prosecutions, and everyone who believes in civil liberties and the rule of law needs to vigorously support these efforts. Because in a representative democracy, if our elected officials allow torture to go unpunished, we are all ultimately complicit.

"Americans cannot escape a certain responsibility for what is done in our name around the world. In a democracy, even one as corrupted as ours, ultimate authority rests with the people. We empower the government with our votes, finance it with our taxes, bolster it with our silent acquiescence. If we are passive in the face of America's official actions overseas, we in effect endorse them." ~Mark Hertsgaard

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John Sodrel is a freelance photographer and political activist in Louisville, KY, who is trying to right the wrongs of the Bush/Cheney administration and wants to make sure they aren't repeated by Obama or any future administrations. He is (more...)
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Obama's Complicity in Bush/Cheney Lawbreaking