bumped by carol, originally posted 2009-04-19 12:43:02 -0500 Original title on buzzflash: "Obama Releases Torture Memo's: What Will "Immunity and "Good Faith Come to Mean."
In remarks made this morning Obama has opened the door to Congressional investigations and prosecutions of former Bush adminstration officials for torturing people. His formulations are quite precise. Please check out the update links in the comments below. The transcript of what he had to say is provided in the link to raw story in the fourth comment. Please also compare what he said with what Senator Cardan (D-Md) said to MSNBC in the video report in the third comment. Thanks.
The ACLU, and the people who've worked with them over the last few years, deserve to be recognized and thanked profusely by everybody. They figured out what the paper trail which littered the path the Bush administration decided to adopt in pursuing what it called the "Global War on Terror" must be made up of, and how that all could be identified, and then brought out into the public. And they did it. Without their unremitting labor what happened last Thursday when Obama announced the release of the Bush torture memos, would not have happened, and surely not in the way it did. The ACLU legal cases provided the vehicle for discovery and release, but to get to that outcome requires establishing the right to get to the evidence and a whole infrastructure chain of work from individuals and institutions, who we may never know, but who ought to know that there is a depth of appreciation for what they did and the way they did it.
This commentary is kind of a conjoint effort. Susie Dow thought the developments worthy of coverage and pulled together what she called the "bare bones links" through which the story is elaborated. But, unfortunately, she wasn't in a position to write it all up. She asked if any one wanted to help. Well, almost three years ago now, in June 2006 she picked up something I wrote which went on DailyKos, and cross-posted it here. It was the first posting I ever did on ePluribusMedia, and it was a report on a conference on torture held in a Maryland church that Spring Saturday, around a theme laid out by Ray McGovern. Ray told those there that torture isn't wrong because it is illegal, it is ilegal because it is wrong. I think the message of that conference is still one which applies, perhaps in more fundamental ways now than it did three years ago. So I said "yes".
This is by way of introduction. I would like to discuss President Obama's statement from last Thursday in which he announced that the four documents which the ACLU had been demanding through the court system would be released. The documents can be found in the references at the end of this. I think it important to stress that the issue brought to the fore by what the President said does not involve the question of who will be punished under the law for what they did. The issue is the same as it was before. For there to be a rule of law there has to be an effective notion of the difference between right and wrong. The documents show how weasel words were developed to extricate the US as a country from the obligations of international treaties and its own statutes because one man wanted it to be that way. How can it be that one man, with his cronies, could over-ride everything this country has stood for for so long