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What Greenwald said



The pressures and allegedly selfless motivations being cited on behalf of Bush officials who ordered torture and other crimes -- even if accurate -- aren't unique to American leaders. They are extremely common. They don't mitigate war crimes. They are what typically motivate war crimes, and they're the reason such crimes are banned by international agreement in the first place -- to deter leaders, through the force of law, from succumbing to those exact temptations. What determines whether a political leader is good or evil isn't their nationality. It's their conduct. And leaders who violate the laws of war and commit war crimes, by definition, aren't good, even if they are American.


Of course, it's hardly "pragmatic" to prosecute war criminals, is it?


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Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

Among the most important results of a prosecution would be an explanation of why Bush/Cheney did it. Like the invasion of Iraq, the Administration's statements are lies. Tellingly, they do not even do us the courtesy of lying well, putting some effort into it. Why torture at all when the folks who should know say that it doesn't work (and the arguments for it basically come off a TV script), when treaties, laws, and our most ancient legal traditions forbid it, and when it will almost surely result in the inability of the few truly guilty detainees to get a fair trial. I think they did it because it's what tyrants do. Not that they couldn't help themselves, they wanted their peers and we peons to know their power. In everyday parlance, they did it because they were punks and the more people who understand that, the less likely it is that there will be a repeat.

Julene's picture
Submitted by Julene on

Last night on Rachel Maddow whoever was on discussing this (Spencer Ackerman?) said that even if it was wrong to torture that the Bush Admin clearly believed in the efficacy of torture, so it's not their fault and should not be prosecuted for war crimes. How incredibly lame is that as a defense? Oh, well, I thought it would work to torture people, but it didn't. Oops. I'm in the clear.

All their belief in the efficacy of torture shows is that they are stupid enough to believe in falsehoods. Or believe us stupid enough to think that's a defense.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Which makes me absolutely shudder to think what the failure to uphold the Constitution with regards to Bush II will lead us to in the future. We have gone past the point of no return here. Future presidents will know they can do whatever the hell they want without repercussions and with the rising surveillance society they'll have even more disturbing levels of power at their disposal.

Oh, and VL, upholding the Constitution is worse than ideological, it's downright "disagreeable" and we can't have that! No, Obama, has told us repeatedly that we must disagree without being disagreeable. Why he hasn't said that to the misogynistic and homophobic bigots he has around him is beyond me.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

I caught myself watching a rather decent debate on Hardball (yes, hell has nearly frozen over for me to stop on the station for more than a minute) between Jim Moran of Virginia (at least, I think that was his name), and Duncan Hunter discussing the tortue issue, yesterday. There seems to be a new framing war crime-sympathizers concerning Abu Ghairb that what Lynndie England and the others did, while horrible and worth prosecuting as criminal, didn't account for war crimes because they did it on their own time and supposedly without order to do so. I couldn't help but laugh, mostly because Abu Ghairb is hardly the only place where systematic tortue took place. It blows my mind that anyone would still want, still has the energy, to defend this stuff.