Yesterday, the Obama administration released four torture memoes. These memoes can be viewed here.
While these are awful, awful reads, particularly the bit where we put detainees with a fear of insects inside a tiny box with an insect they were told would sting them, they simply confirm what we already know: the US authorized waterboarding. Prisoners were waterboarded. Waterboarding, in all US and international precedent, is considered torture.
And under United States law, anyone legitimately suspected of torture must be investigated and prosecuted. No matter what.
“A superior told me to” is not a valid excuse.
Barack Obama says that there will be no prosecutions. He says that this is a time for “reflection, not retribution.”
Barack Obama is as wrong as he has ever been.
I don’t see this as a partisan thing. The Bush folks, in their widespread illegality (both torture and wiretapping), got pretty heavy cooperation from Congress. Investigations need to happen. Rule of law is not a luxury we can drop at any time.