The Bush Litmus Test?
Will Bush, forever, be the test case on whether, or not, US Presidents and their minions have to obey any laws at all? The former President of Iraq could shoot any citizen in his office and get away with it. Has the United States of America sunk to such a depth?
They elected to "just follow orders," a defense dismissed out of hand at the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal on war crimes. Together with the lawyer-advisers, the derivative deciders provide abundant proof that the "banality of evil" did not die with Adolf Eichmann and other functionaries of the Third Reich.
But the buck stops - actually, in this case, it began - with President Bush. Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Carl Levin and John McCain on Dec. 11, 2008, released the executive summary of a report, approved by the full committee without dissent, concluding that Bush's Feb. 7, 2002, memorandum "opened the door to considering aggressive techniques."
Here is Conclusion Number One of the Senate committee report: "Following the President's determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions...were authorized for use in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody."
It is essential that those responsible for torture be held to account. This is not about "policy differences." It is about crimes. More important still, it's about holding fast to our Constitution and enforcing accountability in the executive branch.
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Steven G. Erickson questions Phil Donahue: