28 January 2009

Bond says Holder promised no torture prosecutions

TPM reports that Sen. Kit Bond told the right-wing rag The Washington Times that AG designate Holder had promised there would be no torture prosecutions (although the actual quote of what Bond said is a bit more ambiguous than that).

Look, folks. Jonathan Turley is absolutely right. Former President Bush and Former V.P. Cheney both acknowledged that they explicitly authorized, among other things, waterboarding. Holder has stated waterboarding is torture. This is undeniably the only possible interpretation of international law to which the U.S. is signatory. Therefore, Cheney and Bush themselves, by their own admissions, are war criminals, because authorizing torture is a war crime. (So, too, no doubt, are quite a few others in the former administration). Authorizing or conducting torture is also a felony under U.S. statutes, according to Prof. Turley.

This isn't subtle. There's just no way around it. Prosecutions are necessary and should be seen as inevitable, although I don't imagine they will be the highest priority of the new administration. But, ultimately, ignoring major violations of law makes a mockery of the concept that our government adheres to the rule of law.

UPDATE: (29·1) Later reports clarify that Holder, through aides, denies he gave Bond any such assurances. Which I don't doubt; Bond is a prevaricator, like most politicians.

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