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Name: Jim
Gender: Male
Member since: Thu Apr 5, 2012, 08:33 PM
Number of posts: 2,570

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America's real patriots fought to expose and end torture

obviously. Those that did the opposite aren't patriots, even if the POTUS thinks so. Maybe the torturers are just normal patriots, whereas those that worked against them are "superpatriots"???

After more than a decade of denial and concealment on the part of our government, President Obama's recent acknowledgment that "we tortured some folks" felt like a milestone. Even in its spare, reductive phrasing, the president's statement opened up the possibility, finally, of national reflection, contrition and accountability.

But the president moved quickly to limit that conversation, painting those who authorized torture as "patriots" who were making difficult decisions under enormous pressure and urging the public not to feel "sanctimonious" because our military and intelligence leaders have "tough jobs." (the only honest deconstruction possible for his words on the matter imo as an educated used car salesman)

Obama was wrong to do this, and not only because patriotism isn't a defense to criminal conduct. The deeper problem with the president's account is that it consigned to obscurity the true heroes of the story: the courageous men and women throughout the military and intelligence services who kept faith with our values, and who fought to expose and end the torture.

Missing from Obama's remarks was any recognition that the decision to endorse torture was a contested one. In fact, that decision was challenged over and over in interrogation rooms and conference rooms and at every level of government. Soldiers intervened to protect prisoners from cruelty. FBI agents refused to participate in abusive CIA and military interrogations. Military judge advocates general decried the withholding of Geneva Convention protections and rejected the arguments of civilian lawyers justifying torture. Military prosecutors at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, resigned rather than prosecute prisoners on the basis of coerced evidence. Some CIA agents were so vocal about the abuses they saw in the field that they sparked a major agency investigation.

I roll my eyes every time I hear/read "Nation of laws/rule of law" from those

best able to make it so, whether it be a prosecutor in front of a grand jury seeking an indictment against a potentially murderous cop or the POTUS and his AG who have no substantial guilt-establishment burdens to overcome.

Which of those two is most likely to be making the "rule of law" utterance going froward, and has done so with the highest frequency in the past?

And if you're gonna give the POTUS/AG a pass in the form of a lack of condemnation for their lack of prosecuting, shouldn't the same be done for the prosecutor that never put the murdering white cop on the hook? It seems to me that their respective sins are largely the same in principle and practice -- a a willful and knowing denial of justice to the victims.

Of course both could ultimately be all my fault for not having been vociferous enough in my condemnations of the two-plus-tier criminal justice system in this country, or for not having come up with the method and means by which prosecutors can be made to eat their discretion in such matters, but I promise to keep working on both....
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