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Harsh Interrogation and Justice

Our Readers Who Comment are riled up again today about what if anything should be done about Bush Administration officials who sanctioned "harsh interrogation techniques." This comes because Carrie Johnson tells us that former Bush administration officials are urging the Justice Department to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed the tactics.

Some support the harsh approach; more who commented on this story are offended by it. Some note that officials under investigation are just attempting to defend themselves, as is their right. Others note that not every potential subject has access to anybody in the Justice Department. Some want a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of this.

And there is continuing anger at The Washington Post for calling torture "harsh interrogation techniques." Every story on the subject draws comments to that effect.

We'll start with this exchange:

ballgame wrote, "If I read the article correctly...and I like to think I basically says that two people who are/will be accused of some ethical violation are taking steps toward defending themselves. Did I miss something? Despite how horrible these two guys might be, they still have a right to defend themselves against the charges and/or defend against proposed bar sanctions."

To which abqcleve replied, "You did read it correctly, but I'm afraid you missed the point. They haven't been charged with anything, but they're exerting undue "influence" on the process. Let me put it this way: do you think if it were you that was under discussion for torture prosecution that YOU would have direct access to Justice??"

Christopherjhan wrote, "They see what's coming when college students and 4th graders are publicly denouncing them as war criminals and when other countries are preparing arrest warrants for them should they ever leave the country. Their reign was a dark era in America's history, it should be remembered as such."

RB1019 said, "My friends were slammed against a wall during their first year at the USNA. Guess they were the victims of torture. Give me a break. The detainees at Gitmo would slit your throat if they had the chance."

caroll1 wrote, "Republicans engaged in a witch hunt going after Bill Clinton... It's the height of hypocrisy & unforgivable that Republicans now excuse the worst crimes of the Bush administration: violating our laws on torture, rewriting laws after the fact to justify torture and lying to the American people to invade Iraq on false, cooked intelligence..."

And lonquest said, "So we're the country that impeaches a president for lying to a grand jury about a lesser sex act, but conspiracy to commit torture, for which the evidence seems overwhelming, is unworthy of prosecution?..."

kszimmerman wrote, "...Full investigation is essential. Not only do these people not see that what they did was plainly illegal in addition to morally wrong, they plan on doing it again as soon as possible. If we don't investigate them now, if we turn our backs to what has happened, we'll be complicit in the future..."

But pkhenry said, "Here is the nightmare Obama has set up.
CIA: What time will the nuclear bomb go off tomorrow in New York?
Terrorist: You are depriving me of sleep. That is torture. According to US law, you have to let me go to sleep now."

Otech21 wrote, "...Yoo and Baybe may be directly culpable, but were probably acting under orders. This needs to go higher, e.g. Roberto Gonzalez and the one who gave him a foot up into the establishment - G.W. Bush, himself and his closest advisers..."

bevjims1 said, "...When the underlings of watergate were slowly giving up information that implicated Nixon, the right wing screaming got very loud, until the tapes were released, then all was silent and no one felt Nixon deserved a defense. I expect we will also have a day of silence when what many thought impossible about the Bush administration is exposed. Truth is cleansing."

mgloraine asked, "Who imposes the restriction upon WaPo staff writers to keep using bs BushCo double-talk like 'harsh detainee interrogation tactics' when they mean 'torture'? '...techniques that critics have likened to torture'?? No, just plain 'torture'...

tmcproductions2004 wrote, "Until America rights these wrongs of the previous admin we will never regain our strength. It's like the swine flu, if we do nothing it may lay dormant for a while but then it could revisit us with a vengence..."

And RamaSchneider said, "Uh .... controlled drowning (ie waterboarding) is not something that is being "likened to torture". It IS torture. And the Washington Post should stop being an apologist for torture and torturers by calling torture torture."

timebanded wrote, "It's a shame all criminals don't get to soften their reports of alleged crimes."

gilbertpb40 said, "The Justice Department cannot judge itself fairly. All Republicans and Democrats who were party to this abomination (torture) should be judged in public if they were complicit in what appears to be crimes against humanity. I think the most fair way to do this would be an Independent Proscutor..."

We'll close with sanders2, who wrote, "The United States will survive terrorism, it can not survive torture as a means of interrogation."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  May 6, 2009; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  Justice , Torture  | Tags: Justice, Torture  
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