Last week I wrote a blog post that, in retrospect, was a good starting script for a cartoon. That’s why those readers of my main blog might have that sense of deja vú all over again.
The subject was indeed Karl Rove’s hypocritical — not to mention racist — contention, quoted in the above cartoon, that going after the perpetrators of torture is akin to persecution of political predecessors in so-called “banana republics.” You know, those dictatorial regimes U.S. covert operations installed after aiding the overthrow of democratically elected governments, then trained their security forces in torture and supplyed the regimes with lotsa moolah to fund their death squads terrorizing their countries.
My tax dollars at work.
Statements like Rove’s never fail to blow me away. Even worse is this ongoing meme that these recent torture activities were aberrations, that the officials framing the policy were “ignorant” of past uses of torture by, say, the Communists or the Spanish Inquisition. Ahistorical? Hellz yeah. And Orwellian, too. Yet by making the argument that we should “move on” and refrain from prosecuting those who broke U.S. and international law and violated our core values as a democracy, President Obama abets the crime. I give him high marks for releasing the torture memos and for suspending the use of torture techniques in the interrogations of prisoners at war. Part of me even hopes that this information will help the other efforts by Spain and in Congress to seek justice. Nonetheless, torture remains an arrow in the quiver of executive power until we can make clear that there are serious consequences for those who use it. Obama probably won’t torture. But what about his successors?