Years Later: Human Rights Watch Announces That Bush and Cheney Tortured

What Gives?

Statutes of limitations for torture not resulting in death have passed. The DOJ has refused to prosecute 99 of 101 cases of torture-to-death that it looked at. Obama has long since publicly told the DOJ not to prosecute the CIA for torture. Obama’s torture of Bradley Manning has been widely ignored. Rendition has been established as normal. Torturers have published confessional/bragging memoirs. Habeas corpus has been formally ended. The Bagram-Gitmo archipelago is here to stay. Torture continues in Iraq, Afghanistan, elsewhere. Assassinations have been established as the truly big new fashion. Harold Koh has replaced John Yoo as the Guy Who Will “Legalize” Anything. We’ve got more illegal wars going at once than ever before. Congress has practically dropped the pretense of a rule of law. The President can’t clear his throat without opposing “relitigating the past,” as if on the planet he comes from it is common to litigate the future. And Human Rights Watch has chosen this moment to announce that Bush and Cheney might just have been responsible for torture?

Overwhelming evidence of torture by the Bush administration obliges President Barack Obama to order a criminal investigation into allegations of detainee abuse authorized by former President George W. Bush and other senior officials, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Obama administration has failed to meet US obligations under the Convention against Torture to investigate acts of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, Human Rights Watch said.

Hey, thanks, Sherlock.  What was your first clue?

I’m glad someone still cares.  But why not care a little faster?  This report ends by reviewing foreign efforts to step in where the U.S. justice system has failed, and U.S. efforts — successful thus far — to prevent that.

If Human Rights Watch turns against illegal wars someday, we can perhaps expect a review of the bombing of Libya several years after it ceases.  And we’ll be better off, I guess.  But why not speak up at the time? If Bush and Cheney belong in prison, why would it have been so unacceptably impolite to impeach them and remove them from office?

David Swanson is an anti-war activist and blogger at War Is a Crime. Read other articles by David.