For me, the most troubling and perverse aspect of this conversation is the lack of condemnation against the US for the torture by the global community.
The world knows and understands as a fully documented fact that the US tortured and killed prisoners, and probably still does. Torture is official US policy approved and implemented by the highest levels in the US government. The Bush/Cheney cabal are on the record of having personally approved of torture and were personally engaged in understanding the techniques that would be used. Cheney continues to beat the drum of the righteousness of torture, and would approve it again with a full understanding that he would be approving torture. The government legal apparatus deliberately perverted the law to offer the cloak of legality for the torture. The Obama administration must be complicit as well.
There is no question that what the US did is in violation of US law and are crimes against humanity, as defined and endorsed by the international community. International law prohibits granting immunity to public officials who allow the use of torture. This applies not just to the actual perpetrators, but also to those who plan and authorize torture. If any individual orders, enables or commits torture, they cannot be granted impunity because of political expediency. The US is not a member of the International Criminal Court, but did ratify the UN Convention Against Torture in 1994. The US was fully complicit in the prosecution and hanging Japanese torturers in WWII who used the same waterboarding techniques the US did.
If it were any country other than the US that did this, there would be blanket condemnation and sanctions. The offending state would become a pariah nation. Leadership would be tried and convicted in absentia in the Hague, arrested and probably put to death were they to be nabbed outside of their own territory.
The US, however, is being given a pass. Outside of the US, western countries do not condemn it. Advanced countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France et al are silent. And it is totally perverse that half of US citizens approve of torture.
The international community has a legal and moral obligation to vigorously and unequivocally condemn US torture and try all those responsible. Failure to do so makes a mockery of any moral justice the world pretends to impose on any individual or country. Frankly, I cannot imagine this happening. How sad for humanity.
– An article from Consortium news on US torture
– NYT calls for the prosecution of torturers and their masters
– Observations on the torture report
– The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings