Friday, April 17, 2009

No prosecution of Bush Era

Those criticizing President Obama for not pursuing criminal prosecutions of people who may have tortured enemy combatants in the Bush Era should reflect on the implications of what they want.

No one is alleging that anyone in the Bush Era did something out of malice. This is a policy dispute about what is best to protect the United States, and whether certain techniques are legal and Constitutional.

Criminal prosecution should be left for people up to no good. People doing evil for evil's sake. For revenge. For fun. Not for people doing what they think is best and legal according to them.

We have a Supreme Court to make Constitutional interpretations like this.

Whether or not waterboarding is torture, against U.S. law, or violates the Geneva conventions under all circumstances or some are legal questions.

Ultimately the people decide by elections.

What people who think there are bright lines should do is to make sure the law says what they think it should, and then hold people accountable in the future.

I don't hold President Bush responsible for the attacks of 9/11. I give the Bush administration credit for keeping America safe since then.

President Obama did the right thing in ruling out Bush admin. prosecutions.

On the merits, torture surely works sometimes. If it is in the national interest both short and long term we should engage in it. I'm sure there are very few instances where that is true, but that is why we need leaders to make tough calls and be held accountable.

But not in a criminal way, if they act in good faith.

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