29 March 2009

Go Spain!

America, I think it now both safe and clear to say, failed in at least some of its responsibilities over the last eight years. One of the ongoing failures is the lack of investigations -- as required by both US law and international treaty -- into the torture policies of the Bush administration (there are at least 100 other things about the Bushies I’d like investigated, but this one goes to the top of the list because it deals with international partners and international law. Torturing people is a war crime, period full stop).

Finally, the UK and Spain are beginning to do the work the United States is too cowardly* to do: investigate charges of torture by the United States (perhaps aided and abetted by the Blair government in the UK).

*This epithet is specifically aimed at Congress: it is their responsibility.

The UK investigation is currently focused on its own (likely) role, but may expand. The Spanish investigation is already focused specifically on six Bush officials -- mostly the authors of the torture memorandums, along with Frodo (Alberto Gonzales).

It’s a much-needed start. I wish some of the other countries who carry strong authority on war crimes -- like Germany, Switzerland and France -- would grow a pair and get involved in this.

Moreso, however, I wish the US would honour its own obligations. The strongest possible signal the US could send that a) there's a new, more lawful sheriff in town and b) this sort of thing will not happen again is to take the lead on getting to the bottom of what happened, and prosecute those people who have committed actual crimes. Who knows, the left may be wrong for once, and the reasoning and actions aren’t as bad or blatantly illegal (and immoral) as we fear. That would be a pleasant surprise, really, and I’m all for suspending disbelief until the facts are heard.

But without an investigation, the facts won’t be heard. These matters are far more serious than the kind of stuff other people get dragged into court over -- why don’t US laws seem to apply if you happen to be high up in the government anymore?

No comments: