Torture: Evade and Escape (Responsibility)

Bob Herbert in the NY Times is the second writer I’ve read who is asking: What’s the big hurry, here? with regard to Bush’s push for a congressional re-writing of interrorgation rules. [No drawing and quartering, no flaying, no beheading. Everything else is fair game.] His answer: Protection for the pooh-bahs, not the soldiers themselves.

One of the biggest concerns of the administration is the possibility of evidence emerging that could lead to charges of war crimes against high-ranking officials. The president and others in the administration have argued that they are seeking changes in the law in order to protect soldiers and ordinary interrogators in the field against war crimes accusations.

But there are already clear guidelines — short of war crimes prosecutions — for dealing with soldiers and civilian interrogators who abuse prisoners. The Abu Ghraib prosecutions are a good example.

The people who would have to worry, if war crimes were found to have been committed, would be those at the top of the command structure who crafted policies that were illegal and ordered them carried out — or who turned a blind eye to atrocities.

“Those are the ones,” said Mr. Horton, “who are vulnerable.”

Bob Herbert, NYT [pay wall]

Of course, the despair fueled fantasies of some of us that a re-captured House of Representatives by the Democrats would lead to serious investigations are just that, fantasies. Bush and Buddies are extremely unlikely to be indicted, except by the sane and mourning survivors of the holocaust his policies are likely to set off. Nevertheless, the fight is worth fighting. Keep the Geneva conventions as laws of the U.S. Let the chips fall as they may.

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