Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dick Cheney is right

He says that the torture he approved of was legal. Dahlia Litwick explains why he is right:

But the real lesson of In My Time is not that Cheney "got away with it," though I suppose he did. It's an admonishment to rest of us that the law really matters. The reason Cheney keeps saying that torture is "legal" is because he has a clutch of worthless legal memoranda saying so. Cheney gets away with saying torture is "legal" even though it isn't because if it were truly illegal, he and those who devised the torture regime would have faced legal consequences—somewhere, somehow. That's the meaning of the "rule of law." That, rather than whether America should torture people, is what we should glean from the Cheney book.

As long as he is not prosecuted for approving of torture his actions were, in effect, legal. This isn't as if someone killed another person and got away with it. When someone gets away with murder or some other crime its probably because there isn't enough evidence to determine who did it. Either the policy or a jury just don't have enough of the facts. Despite that, the crime is still illegal and people are held accountable for doing it. Cheney is different because we have all of the evidence. Not only that, he is admitting he did it.

Yet nothing happens to him or anyone else involved. And the reasons are almost completely political on the part of the Obama administration. Because of their decision to not enforce the law there is little deterrent for future administrations who want to torture people. All they have to do is draw up ridiculous "legal opinions" and then wait for their predecessors to declare they want to look forward instead of backward. Until someone attempts to prosecute these people Cheney will continue to openly mock and defile the principles this country is supposed to stand for.

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