With President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder blocked any investigation or prosecution of those responsible for the torture program, Bush officials like Vice President Dick Cheney have been publicly celebrating the use of torture. Now, Karl Rove says that he is “proud” that the administration used torture “that broke the will of these terrorists.”
President Obama reportedly assured Bush officials before his inauguration that he would not allow anyone to be prosecuted for torture. Such a prosecution would be unpopular and the Administration has again chosen politics over principle. Assured that they will not be held accountable, Bush officials are pouring into the breach by shaping the public debate. They are misrepresenting waterboarding as legal while the Administration remains utterly silent. They know it is hard for the Administration to object that it is torture when it is protecting the very same officials from prosecution.
Rove also works to reshape history in claiming that torture succeeded in stopping terrorist attacks: “I’m proud that we used techniques that broke the will of these terrorists and gave us valuable information that allowed us to foil plots such as flying airplane into Heathrow and into London, bringing down aircraft over the Pacific, flying an airplane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and other plots.”
Watching this obviously coordinated campaign on torture by Bush officials is like watching a bank robbers flashing stolen cash and buying drinks in front of a police station. The sense of utter immunity is palpable. We should be disgusted as much by the president who is protecting them as we are the president who ordered them to commit these crimes. Because of the political calculation by the Obama Administration, a war crime has become a political rallying cry.
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