Appearing last night on Rachel Maddow’s show, Senate Armed Services Committee chair Carl Levin called for an investigation and possible indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney for admitting he authorized waterboarding – a form of torture since the Spanish Inquisition and illegal under numerous US laws and international treaties.
“When the vice president of the United States says that he believes … waterboarding is appropriate, there is no other conclusion than (he approved) a form of torture,” Sen. Levin told Maddow. “I was astounded to hear the (Cheney) blithely say it’s OK.”
Debunking the idiocy of Cheney’s argument in his ABC interview that torture didn’t violate the law because John Yoo’s legal opinion letter twisted language and rational thinking, Sen. Levin proclaimed, “You can’t just change something that’s illegal into something that’s legal by a lawyer writing a letter saying it’s OK.”
In an editorial this morning, the New York Times issues a strong call for the Obama administration to take fast, firm action in investigating people in the Bush administration involved in approving torture.
“At the least, Mr. Obama should, as the organization Human Rights First suggested, order his attorney general to review more than two dozen prisoner-abuse cases that reportedly were referred to the Justice Department by the Pentagon and the C.I.A. — and declined by Mr. Bush’s lawyers.
“Mr. Obama should consider proposals from groups like Human Rights Watch and the Brennan Center for Justice to appoint an independent panel to look into these and other egregious violations of the law. Like the 9/11 commission, it would examine in depth the decisions on prisoner treatment, as well as warrantless wiretapping, that eroded the rule of law and violated Americans’ most basic rights. Unless the nation and its leaders know precisely what went wrong in the last seven years, it will be impossible to fix it and make sure those terrible mistakes are not repeated.
“We expect Mr. Obama to keep the promise he made over and over in the campaign (that) one of his first acts as president would be to order a review of all of Mr. Bush’s executive orders and reverse those that eroded civil liberties and the rule of law.”
Hopefully, Obama understands that change means more than new policies: It also means returning America to the high ground of moral leadership in the world. This can’t happen unless and until the nation investigates and prosecutes those responsible for destroying its long-held, core principles.
Articles by Charley: