This is a disappointing column.
Holding the Bush administration responsible for torture would give us some high political drama that would feed the media goat for the next two years and also sap the body politic. The healthcare system would go unfixed, schools would crumble, basic public services would deteriorate, all so that the left could have at the right.The argument is that if war crimes are prosecuted, then other social problems will not get fixed. One does not follow the other; it's a fallacy. The way the 24-hour news cycle ("feed the media goat") gets affected should be of no concern to the Justice Department. Thankfully we had enough people ignore "the media goat" and prosecute Watergate criminality.
Retribution is not smart politics.This is not a time for "smart politics" -- what a childish concern. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld torture is so much more important than a political party. It's the difference between maintaining equality under the law and not. In the US Constitution, treaties are the same as law, and don't tell me the previous Administration didn't torture according to what President Reagan signed, the UN Convention on Torture:
For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession....punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.The language is clear; it's time to go after Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld in the name of justice and the rule of law. We know that Democrats will suffer for it -- all the better. If there are corrupt Democrats the body politic should be rid of, so be it. If prosecuting crime is "retribution," then why prosecute burglars, batterers, murderers? Why have the law in the first place? Let's just be like African dictatorships, China, and sharia Muslim countries. Let's see how that will work out.
No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.