is no longer whether or not we should investigate and prosecute
President Bush for any involvement in torture. According to his own
words in his new book, Decision Points, he openly admits to having
authorized its implementation. Who knows what his reason(s) for such a
bizarre announcement. And frankly, who cares? Whether it was out of
arrogance or guilt or shame or for redemption or fear and threat of
exposure and retaliation by others involved, the question has answered
Of course we should and we must prosecute. Our democracy and reason for being, our Constitution demands it. The fact that he took so long to admit to this most heinous of crimes, no matter what his status or personal belief and reasoning and justification and explanation, does not mitigate his actions. We are left with no choice. Did not Hitler and Hussein have their own reasons and justification for torture? Not prosecuting would make every citizen of this once-proud country guilty of the same crime. Worse, it would send a very dangerous message indeed to other potential criminals that some laws do not have to apply to all people; that some, if they merely feel they should be, are or can be "above" the laws. We elect our president and expect him to uphold and obey our laws, the country's laws, our treaties, not spit on them nor decide to his liking which ones make sense to him when convenient. It is what makes us a democracy and not a dictatorial police state.
We cannot forgive a President simply because he was the President, who thought under the circumstances he was doing the right thing, ignorant and irresponsible and un-American and criminal as that was. We must prosecute relentlessly, across the aisle, anyone and everyone who was privy to this information and did nothing to expose or stop it as well as anyone and everyone who does not come forward, who would obstruct the pursuit of justice towards this end. That a full scale investigation and prosecution of torture might "hurt the morale" of the CIA is no argument against it. From everything I've been reading about our CIA lately, more than a little humility and downsizing might be in the country's best interest. My heart really bleeds for the CIA....and the KGB.
The question to be asking as citizens not only of this country but of the world is whether President Bush should be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison as a constant reminder to all world leaders faced with the same choices; not which punishment he would prefer but which makes the most sense and sends the strongest message. The egregious, universally accepted crime he committed is now, with his confession, a hard, cold fact not in any way mitigated by his admission (with or without remorse). We are not left with a "tough" decision. Sad yes, maybe for the disillusioned and demented who agreed with his policies. But not tough. And much sadder for the Nation should we fail to prosecute (as we did against Hitler and Hussein for exactly the same reason). This may be compassionless, but no less so than the crime to which he has confessed. The situation is not unlike Gary Gilmore's "bluff" of the courts and the "mice and cowards" who were afraid to enact their own laws. This is a no brainer. The man has admitted to and is thus guilty of the most serious of all human crimes, authorizing and implementing torture; crimes far worse than Gary Gilmore's. It's time when all politicians must face the music. It comes with the territory and is part of the job; the down side, if you will, to the celebrity status they gain from winning our trust but then breaking it. The world is watching (and has been for some time). Our legacy and conviction and moral fiber, the future of our country and what we leave to our children hangs in the balance. Are we free and brave, a land of law, or is it and has it been all talk?