More from the torture beat


Geraldine Sealey
June 9, 2004 9:20PM (UTC)

It just may be that Bush, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft get a reprieve from real public scrutiny on their roles in the sanctioning of torture while non-stop Reagan coverage continues in the mainstream media, but it's clear that this story will not fade. We have come a long way, in just one short month, from when the administration wished the story away, blaming the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison on a "few bad apples" down the chain of command. Now, memos popping up in various newspapers and magazines showing how administration lawyers reached for arguments to justify torture is helping to slowly expose the truth, making an undeniable case that responsibility goes to the highest levels.

The New York Times editorial board suggests Congress "may have to form an investigative panel with subpoena powers to find the answers. What we have seen, topped by that legalistic treatise on torture, shows clearly that Mr. Bush set the tone for this dreadful situation by pasting a false 'war on terrorism' label on the invasion of Iraq."

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The Washington Post editorial board says the judgments made by political appointees at the Justice and Defense departments "is the logic of criminal regimes."

On his excellent blog, University of Miami law professor Michael Froomkin analyzes the Pentagon torture memo, or at least the redacted version published on Wall Street Journal Online. His reaction: "If anyone in the higher levels of government acted in reliance on this advice, those persons should be impeached. If they authorized torture, it may be that they have committed, and should be tried for, war crimes. And, as we learned at Nuremberg, 'I was just following orders' is NOT (and should not be) a defense."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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